CRIME TRACKER: Yakima's Cherry Avenue

CRIME TRACKER: Yakima's Cherry Avenue
YAKIMA, Wash. -- It's a Yakima neighborhood that's no stranger to murders, stabbings and other violent crimes.

People around Cherry Avenue think it deserves more attention from law enforcement.

"Do you feel safe here?" KIMA asked.

"No, if I felt safe I wouldn't be in my house all the time," said a mother who only wanted to be identified as "Tasha."

Tasha is like most people in Yakima; last year's citizen survey found three-quarters of those who responded don't feel safe when it comes to crime.

"It makes me not want to let my kids go outside," Tasha said.

Those crime concerns are being addressed the city.

So far, the primary focus has been on North First Street; a neighborhood with its own criminal history and considered critical to revitalize the economy.

But hot spots like Cherry Avenue haven't gotten as much attention.

KIMA pulled the numbers and found there have been two murders in the neighborhood this month alone.

There have also been two dozen assaults along with a half dozen robberies since April.

Last year; another murder and other violent attacks.

So, why not put some emphasis patrols here also? Yakima police say expanding the gang unit is the first step.

"With having two units, at least one on the streets at all times, will that help as well?" KIMA asked.

"I believe it will because these gangbangers, they know the schedules of officers in the unit," said Yakima Police Captain Rod Light. "They know when they're on and when they're not."

Yakima says once North 1st Street is cleaned up those resources could be used around Cherry Avenue.

"I'm more than certain the city manager will be willing to look at other areas in town," said Light.

Neighbors like Tasha say more patrols can't come soon enough.

"If they had cops patrolling around here a lot more, then they would see a lot less crime happening," said Tasha.

Help could eventually be on its way to a place some argue needs it the most.

YPD already added several new officers to the gang unit.

It's wrapping up the search for a new gang sergeant this week and will make a selection soon.