Yakima's Crime Free Housing, Not Crime Free

Yakima's Crime Free Housing, Not Crime Free »Play Video
YAKIMA -- KIMA discovered Yakima's Crime Free Housing Initiative is far from crime free.

The program which links police, landlords and tenants together has made a big dent in crime around many apartment complexes in Yakima. Action News learned, while police and landlords are doing their part, it's the tenants who are giving criminals a break.

Grills, lawn chairs, and other outside items have been disappearing in high numbers at apartments across town. It's happening in the same places over and over again. Crooks are striking one day and returning later in the week. More surprising is that the thefts are happening in “Crime Free Housing”.

"I've seen crime reduction probably by 80% in this particular complex,” said Rich Fowler with Yakima Police about Glenmoor Green apartments. “Management is heavily involved in the program."

Rich Fowler heads the Crime Free Program, but after talking to him I found that reduction may be off because tenants aren't reporting crime. It's as simple as picking up a phone, but too many people living in the “Crime Free Housing” just aren't doing it.

"That's all it takes to let someone know if something is going on that you know is suspicious," said Jan Hatchinson.

Hatchinson is the manager at Glenmoor Green where some of the crimes are happening. She does her part, but she can only do so much.

Across town at the Cornerstone apartments their good neighbor relationships have helped dramatically with crime. They actually haven't been hit by the recent thefts.

"We keep each other informed about whatever is happening," said Helen Downs who lives in the complex.

A big part of the crime free initiative is keeping managers in the loop. Tenants at Cornerstone say they feel they can walk in anytime, tell them about an incident and get results. Helen once had her car broken into.

"I reported that and I noticed the police started driving through our complex a lot more," she said.

Fowler just wishes more tenants, in more rentals would get more involved. After all he's just one officer and the only one running the program.

The Crime Free Program has made about a 75% drop in housing crime overall, but they could do much more with more involvement.