Richland PD keeps a close eye on gangs

Richland PD keeps a close eye on gangs
RICHLAND, Wash. - The Tri-Cities has been named one of the best places to raise kids in the US. But it still has its fair share of crime.

"As we grow into a much more metropolitan area, we face a lot of the same challenges," said Connie Nesary.

A huge one is gangs. From the outside looking in, most don't associate Richland with gang crime. Connie plans on moving here from Cashmere where she feels it's gotten more dangerous.

"We don't really go out because I don't feel safe, I don't have that sense of safety that I have here," she said.

Still, there's a gang element in her new town.

From January until September of last year there were 11of criminal gang activity, mostly near the downtown area. A total of 37 reports of gang graffiti were filed, some with arrests.

Compare that with the same nine months of this year and the number of gang crimes dropped by half, and spread throughout the city.

However, despite the decrease, gang graffiti spiked 50 percent compared to the same time last year. It's still well below the average incidents reported in Kennewick and Pasco.

Something that is proving to be working here in Richland? Keeping a tight leash on documented gang members. Cops say they make it their business to know where each one lives and stops by every few days to let them know, hey, we're here and we're keeping an eye on you.

Capt. Mike Cobb with the department told KEPR, "We're gonna keep doing the best we can, again, to achieve that balance to be welcoming, to be open, to be friendly."

Just not with criminals.

It's what Connie is looking for in a new home.

"For 21 years I've been trying to get here. I think it's time," she said.

Richland Police also credit the great success of community watch programs and neighbors calling them anytime they notice suspicious activity.