Summer crime spike: 'Someone's getting shot or someone's getting beat up'

Summer crime spike: 'Someone's getting shot or someone's getting beat up'
YAKIMA, Wash.-- This early dose of heat we've seen in May has also kept Yakima police officers busier than usual. The KIMA Crime Tracker found an increase in gun activity and car prowls for the first week of the month than we saw in cooler weather a year ago.

"Just go to the parks, rivers, cause that's where they're all hanging out," says a former gang member about the warmer months. "Someone's getting shot or someone's getting beat up."

He spent years in gang life and recently got out. He tells KIMA it's gotten worse. We pulled the numbers to see if things are worse. Specifically, when it comes to gun crimes and car prowls in Yakima.

So far this year, Yakima police indicate there have been six more gun crimes have been committed compared to the same period last year. There have been 48 more car prowls.

The same crimes also seemed to heat up with the temperature that we've seen in early May. There have already been 6 gun crimes to start the month compared to one at this point a year ago. Car prowlers have also been busier.

Officers are trying to keep it in check. The gang unit will make house calls with probation officers to make sure gang members out of jail are following the rules or take them back in custody if they're not.

"If we can put them in jail before they commit the crime then that alleviates a lot of witnesses from having to testify or talk to police at all," said Gang Unit leader Sgt. David Cortez.

Getting people to talk is YPD's biggest hurdle. Victims and witnesses are afraid of retaliation.

"If you want to talk and we find out and you leave, then we're going to go for your family too," Brian said.

They are threats that YPD's gang unit will try to overcome with its new team approach starting this summer.

Yakima's Gang unit added 2 new officers and are looking to add 3 more this Summer. The school resource officers will also be on patrol.