Crime Free Rental Housing program shows success

Crime Free Rental Housing program shows success

YAKIMA, Wash.-- There's reason to feel safer if you live near a Yakima police officer. KIMA pulled the numbers on Yakima's Crime Free Rental Housing program. We found apartments that provide officers a place to live are seeing a lot less crime.

Peggy has lived in Yakima for a year; a decision she was hesitant about at first because of Yakima's property crime numbers. She moved into Glenmoor Green. The complex signed up with YPD to commit to Crime Free Rental Housing.

"It indicates to me that this is an area that is safer," Peggy said. 

Peggy wound up testing that theory by accident her first month there. She parked her car in the lot with her windows open.

"When I came out in the morning, I thought, 'Oh my God, you know somebody probably stole things,'" she said. "And, nothing, nothing was taken."

Two officers live in that same complex. They patrol the 14-acre property and keep an eye on things in exchange for a discount in rent. About 50 complexes in Yakima do the same thing. In all, there are more than 500 properties in Yakima's Crime Free Rental program.

Peggy says she constantly sees officers on the job.

"There are policemen, police officers, shall we say, in the area and they keep a close eye," Peggy said. 

Crime free apartment buildings with officers as tenants have seen a dramatic improvement. These properties saw a total of 10 reported incidents last year. That's an 85% decrease from 69 in 2012.

YPD and the program faced some budget and staffing cuts in 2013, but says those cuts didn't impact tenants.

"Is it possible that there are less incidents after these cuts because some people might think there is less help?" KIMA asked.
"Well, I'd like to think that it's because we came up with a program and that is has been very successful," YPD spokesperson Capt. Rod Light said. 

A success that reassures Peggy she made the right choice.

YPD shifted some responsibility of the Crime Free Housing Program to manage some of the cuts. For example, landlords work with Yakima's code enforcement team to report code violations and nuisance issues with their tenants instead of calling the police.