Turnaround for one Kennewick neighborhood

Turnaround for one Kennewick neighborhood »Play Video
KENNEWICK, Wash. - Gang violence, drugs, even shootings have plagued the streets off Tenth Avenue in the past.

Nowadays Kennewick neighbors living near Olympia and Garfield are telling a different story.

Neighbor Aaron Smith said, "It feels like a lot safer neighborhood."

His grandparents have lived on Olympia since the 80's. Aaron says he practically grew up in this area. He remembers his grandpa's warnings about times it wasn't safe to visit.

"He would tell us to park our car a certain way so that the bullets would glance off the windshield, instead of go through because he had the window of his truck shot out," Aaron said.

Kennewick Police have worked with the community to change it around.

Officers point to the high number of people living on these blocks as a reason for trouble.

There are over 1300 living spaces in this tight area not including single family homes or duplexes. So monitoring this area for KPD has been a top priority.

That prioritizing has made a difference. Last month, seven home burglaries were reported in the area off Tenth Avenue, along with two vehicle prowls and a couple cases of graffiti. A far cry from reports in years past.

Police also point to the Crime-Resistant Community Living Program.
KPD works directly with apartment owners and managers. Rentals are evaluated for safety. Tenants are encouraged to keep an eye out for each other as a way to improve everyone's lifestyle.

Officer Allan Knox, Kennewick Police, "We've seen a real significant decrease in not only crime calls but disturbance calls."

Crime watch meetings have advanced the program even more. Aaron is glad to see the community turn around.

"I think things get overlooked when neighbors don't really care," he said.

Police hope that's a thing of the past and the neighborhoods of 10th Avenue can reduce their reputation for trouble.

Kennewick says thanks to the success of its own program. Richland Police adopted a similar one. Pasco PD already has one of its own.

All three departments work together to find ways to improve safety in neighborhoods with a high-density of people living there.