Tacoma business leaders focus attention on crime

TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma businesses are raising the pressure on city leaders to address the crime problem.

This week, they held a crime summit and premiered a video featuring businesses owners talking about their struggles with crime.

“The criminal element right now is not being kept in check and that’s the issue,” Rob Kaufman of Tacoma Twin Rinks told KIRO 7.

Kaufman says there’s been property crime in the parking lot of his ice rink in South Tacoma, like catalytic converter thefts and a stolen car, and violence in the recently removed encampment on the street.

“In the last two weeks we’ve had a machete attack, and, unfortunately, two nights ago we had a murder, a person shot somebody in a tent,” Kaufman said.

Neighboring businesses now share security guards and some changed hours so employees don’t have to walk to their cars in the dark.

“While those people themselves aren’t being shot, there’s a fear of walking to your car when there’s a drug deal going on right next to it,” said Kristen Wynne, who leads the Tacoma Business Council, a volunteer group that formed a year ago to pressure city leaders to address crime.

Business leaders say their lobbying already led Tacoma police to launch a property crime initiative.

“Property crime is what’s killing the business community,” Wynne said.

Tacoma police say overall crime is down by about 19% in the first six weeks of the year compared to 2022.

Police say they are working to make sure that trend continues, as business leaders work on turning their volunteer organization into a staffed non-profit to keep the focus on crime.