12/18/2014

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CRIME TRACKER: More violent crimes when weather warms up

CRIME TRACKER: More violent crimes when weather warms up
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Shootings, stabbings and other attacks here in Yakima are always alarming. They can happen anywhere, but some places tend to see them more often. The KIMA Crime Tracker found the neighborhoods that have the most violence.

“Bang, bang, bang, bang," said Kelly Wajlen.

Kelly Wajlen said she hears it weekly.

"I heard about the kids that got shot in the back just down the street from me and I don't feel safe around here," said Wajlen.

Kelly lives in one of Yakima's most violent neighborhoods. KIMA dug up the numbers and learned these neighborhoods have the most weapon assaults in 2013. They include areas between Second Street and Sixth Street, Yakima Avenue and East Beech Street, First Street and G Street, as well as Fifth Avenue and Fruitvale Boulevard.

YPD said violent criminals usually aren't first-timers.

"Are you able to catch them or are they still out on the loose?" KIMA asked.
"Well some we are, some we aren't,” said Lieutenant Mike Merryman. “I can tell you that the worst offenders, the most violent offenders with warrants for their arrest. We're pretty good at picking them off the streets very quickly."

So far this year in Yakima, there have been 20 assaults involving a gun and 17 with a knife. Officers attribute some of this activity to more people drinking alcohol in the warmer weather. YPD's crime analyst helped identify these areas as places to emphasize patrols.

Kelly said she notices police roaming her neighborhood about every hour, but is still nervous when she hears trouble.

"I would hide underneath my bed or go into my bedroom and sit on the floor where it's safe," said Wajlen.

She hopes there will be a time when she won't feel the need to duck for cover.

YPD said these violent crimes are not always gang-related.
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