Yakima City Leaders Determined To Stop Local Violence
In the wake of Yakima's sixth homicide of 2017, city leaders are pledging to find additional resources to put more police officers on the streets of Yakima to curb gang violence.
Yakima Police Chief Dominic Rizzi, Mayor Kathy Coffey and City Manager Cliff Moore spoke Tuesday about the violence and growing fear in the community.
Coffey said she's determined to find more resources to help put emphasis patrols on the streets as soon as possible. "Right now we need to get all of our resources out on the streets and let people know we are going to have emphasis patrols to get these people off the streets. And have some calm and assurance so people can feel safer," she said. Chief Rizzi said officers need help from the public to solve crime. "You have people who associate with these individuals and as they escalate in criminal activity, they talk about and people they associate with them see and they know it," he said. "That's the group we need to come forward."
He said he'll work with the city public safety committee to create emphasis patrols that focus on problem areas within the city. Rizzi added that a full-time gang unit works seven days a week. And despite an increase in gang activity in the past year, Rizzi said there's been no changes or cuts within the unit.
All the city leaders agreed that fear has gripped the Yakima community and that many people are hoping for more security and more arrests of wanted criminals. And they acknowledged the fear is widespread, not just in certain areas of the city.
Because of that, Coffey said, "we need to do everything we can to get these gangs off the streets and in jail where they belong."
Yakima Police said the majority of this year's homicides are gang-related. The most recent was Monday's gang-related shooting of a 14-year-old boy.