Is gang violence going down in Yakima?

Is gang violence going down in Yakima? »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Donna Tolbert has seen what gangs can do here in Yakima.

"Two years ago, my daughter was involved in a drive-by shooting,” said Donna. “She was shot with a gun in her leg."

Donna's daughter was in a gang. It's the kind of story that's more common than we'd like it to be. Police know it and say they're making slow progress.

"I think it's a little premature to say that we're winning yet,” said Lieutenant Nolan Wentz. “I think we are having an effect."

Officers said they've taken some major gang members off the streets. And, that repeat offenders are staying in jail longer.

KIMA pulled the numbers. Gang-related arrests for the first eight months of the year dropped sharply compared to 2012. Police said part of the reason is some big players are in jail.

"Can't just sit on your laurels and say, okay we've managed to suppress things to a point where it's livable,” said Nolan. ”Because once you get the idea everything is going well for you, it's going to turn around and come around and bite you."

One positive turnaround seems to be that there's not as much violence in Yakima. Assaults are down by half this summer compared to last year. That's not enough to make Donna feel much better.

I'm scared to death in my own neighborhood,” said Donna. “I'm scared to go out in night time to sit on the porch because of all the gunshots I hear."

YPD is trying to ease that fear. Officers are making more contact with gang members so they know who's on the street.

YPD believes there have actually been more gang-related arrests this year than reported. Supervisors said some officers aren't classifying every case properly in the system.