South Sound News

Tacoma Police: Strategy to reduce violent crime is making progress

Violent crime is a big problem in Tacoma, but a new city consultant report says it has gone down 20% since July after police tried a new “hot spot” strategy.

“I’m very proud of what we did in just 90 days,” Tacoma’s new police chief, Avery Moore, told the city council on Tuesday.

Moore worked with consultants from the University of Texas at San Antonio to figure out 16 hot spots where much of the city’s violent crime happens.

From July through October, a police officer came every day at times when crimes often occur and sat there for 15 minutes with lights flashing.

“They’re in these areas strictly to be visible, and that visible impact is what you’re seeing today,” Moore said.

Violent criminal activity, the consultants say, didn’t just move around the corner but actually decreased around the hot spots.

Their report found violent crime dropped 37% around the hot spot locations compared to the previous three months, and was 12% lower than same period last year.

Citywide, violent crime was down 20% compared to the previous 12 months.

“According to what we saw today, I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “I think we saw some really great decreases.”

Tacoma Police are deliberately not revealing where they are using this strategy and are now trying some new locations.

The next steps in the city’s violent crime plan call for breaking the cycle of violence among a small number of repeat offenders.

Tacoma’s police chief says he’s also looking into shot-spotter technology that detects the sound of gunshots and automatically sends officers.