One of the key findings of the 2012 Yakima Citizen Survey that the Yakima City Council focused on during its retreat in late August showed that some Yakima residents don’t feel as safe as they would like to in the downtown area, particularly after dark.

During the August 28th retreat, Council members expressed concern that the negative perception that some people have of Downtown Yakima may be hurting business development as well as attendance at nighttime special events in the commercial core of the city.

In response to that concern, and in an effort to enhance the sense of safety downtown, the Yakima Police Department will launch a pilot bike patrol program for this month’s First Friday event tonight!

“Simply having officers on bikes patrolling the downtown will establish a more visible police presence, and that in itself will create a greater sense of safety,” said Yakima Police Department Captain Rod Light. “The survey results indicated that we needed to put together a plan to help people feel confident that they can come downtown and enjoy themselves. Initiating a bike patrol is something we were able to do quickly in order to help kick off that effort,” said Light.

Today’s bike patrol will include two YPD officers. City Manager Tony O’Rourke also plans to tag along with the bike patrol officers for part of the evening.