Union Gap police solving more crimes, keeping gang crime at bay

Union Gap police solving more crimes, keeping gang crime at bay
UNION GAP, Wash. -- Union Gap is sandwiched between two gang hot spots. But somehow the city manages to keep most gang crime at bay, while police solve more crimes overall.

Shots fired calls are all too familiar in Yakima. The bullet holes are a sight neighbors come to expect. They act as bruises left behind by gangs. But just to the east, in a city that shares its borders, gangs barely leave a mark on Union Gap.

There's no magic wall or steel border separating the two communities. But Officer Eric Turley says gangs know the line.

"I've heard time and time again, 'I know better than to come to Union Gap,'" said Turley.

No criminal is fond of a man in uniform, but Turley says Union Gap PD has a reputation for catching criminals.

"What I attribute that to is we have time to be more proactive than other agencies that are bigger," said Turley. "We're not just going from call to call"

Across the board, more crimes are being solved in Union Gap. Compared to 2011, police improved the clearance rates of burglaries, robberies and assaults with a weapon up to ten percent.

Union Gap also attributes its success to the improved relationship with people who live here.

"Anytime you have a presence or police cars even, that sometimes is enough to quell the wannabes," said Nick Schultz.

"We're just letting people know we're in their neighborhood," said Turley.

And letting gangs know to stay away from Union Gap.

On average, Union Gap only has about one or two drive-by shootings that involve gangs every year.