11/27/2014

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Police: More cars being stolen, more cases being solved

Police: More cars being stolen, more cases being solved

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Violent crime in Yakima is down across the board with one exception: stolen cars.

Are there fewer criminals or are police doing a better job? Action News dug deeper to find out what that really means.

Working, going to school and taking care of the little ones is a struggle moms can relate to. Car thieves targeted Navil Gutierrez.

"Tried taking my car," said car prowl victim Navil Gutierrez "Took my stereo and they took $8."

It was disappointing. Her first call was to police.

"They got him on camera and I got a call the other day saying they caught him," Gutierrez said.

Navil's story is quite common. In 2012, car theft rose 60-percent from the year before, but the fact that her case ended with an arrest is quite rare.

Only seven-percent of these crimes were cleared through an arrest last year.

When it came to homicides, 100-percent of the cases were cleared. Compare that to 2011 when only 83-percent of homicide cases were solved.

"Would we like a 100-percent clearance rate? Of course we would," said Capt. Rod Light, Yakima Police spokesperson. "Is that a possibility? Not very likely unfortunately."

What's interesting is the number of cases solved doesn't always go hand in hand with the number of suspects arrested. For example, robbery arrests dropped by about 40 percent, yet police were able to solve one-percent more cases.

"The mathematics of it can be somewhat deceptive as you just look at it at face value," Light said.

No matter the statistics, Navil says she appreciates police following through and hopes for a conviction.

"I feel relieved," she said. "Finally caught them. Now, they'll learn not to do it again."

Overall, the number of arrests increased ten percent while clearance rates climbed five-percent.

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