Crime down in Kennewick

Crime down in Kennewick
KENNEWICK - It's a good time to live in Kennewick.

A new report found the city has seen an overall drop in crime. But KPD isn't boasting about the numbers.

They say it's all about whether you feel safer.

We asked that question of people just days after Kennewick had it's first murder of the year.

The numbers are clear: the downward trend of crime in Kennewick has been falling since 2004 and it's falling by a lot.

The crime rate was 58 per one-thousand people nearly a decade ago, now it's at 35 per thousand.

The Kennewick Police Department is staying humble.

Mike Blatman of the Kennewick Police Department says of the numbers, "Statistics are statistics. They go up and down."

Blatman also says the department really measures its success on whether people feel safe in their community.

It's a tough question when the city had its first murder of 2012 just a few days ago.

Gloria Rodriguez lives a block away from that crime scene. She doesn't feel safe, despite the downward trend.

"I think we are not safe here. We're thinking of moving into another place where we can be safe with our kids," she says.

Gloria's fears only got worse after the murder on East Eighth Street.
"I'm mostly scared for my kids. I have two girls and cannot walk in the street anymore. It's too scary for me. For my kids."

Just a few houses down, Jorge Casillas is happy with the progress he's seen.

"It's nice that the numbers are down. I guess that should make us feel safe."

But he says it could be better.

"It can always get better, definitely. It can always improve. There always has to be room for improvement," Casillas says.

Improvement is what Mike Blatman says is paramount when getting bad guys off the street.

"They're held accountable for the crimes that they're doing, so part of that plays into the whole safety of the community. And of course we're proud of the work we do, and we'll continue to improve upon that every year."

And every year that trend improves, bringing crime down for the city of Kennewick.

It's not all positive news, though. While the crime rate is down, violent crime is up six-percent.

Generally speaking, citizens are most likely to be a victim of property crime and by comparison, that rate fell six-percent year to year.