Looking at crime at local parks

Looking at crime at local parks »Play Video
KENNEWICK, Wash. - The KEPR Crime Tracker is looking at crime in local parks.

Keewaydin Park is seeing fewer crimes committed on park grounds, but types of crimes are getting more serious.

It doesn't matter that Keewaydin Park is close to the Kennewick police station, it's historically known as a breeding ground for crime.

It causes some to think twice about visiting.

Neighbor Jazz Pascua said, "Not feel like, oh if you go to the park we might get robbed or stabbed for no reason."

Jazz and his family enjoy coming here. They saw three police cars driving around as they were walking over.

His wife Joyce said, "That was very reassuring to see. They're out patrolling the place, definitely keeping a look out."

With good reason.

Last summer, police were called out to the park 90 times. This past summer, only 69.

Police have had fewer issues to check on but the types of crimes are more aggressive. Just last Friday, two weapons incidents.

Police say none of this activity is gang-related. Most problems are caused by troubled teens with nothing better to do.

One reason police believe this park serves as a magnet for criminal activity is the transit station on Dayton Street. Criminals can take the bus and gather at what police call a hub.

It's why Kennewick cops have stepped up patrols. Sending the student resource officer assigned to Kennewick High across the street to do checks several times a day.

Sgt. Ken Lattin said, "When we say you need to leave the park because you're causing problems, you need to leave the park and don't come back. We mean it and we will check."

Slapping criminals with trespassing tickets at the very least.
Ignore the order, re-offend and the charges get bumped up and could leading to jail time.

Joyce said "As long as the police are out and patrolling, doing the best job they can do that's all we can really ask for."

Keeping your family safe.

Although summer is officially over, extra patrols will still circle Keewaydin Park.