Yakima's biggest gang neighborhood makes YPD's list

Yakima's biggest gang neighborhood makes YPD's list »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Knowing where gang members live is valuable information and Yakima police are keeping track in hopes of improving safety. They've now got a list that highlights the biggest gang neighborhood in the city.

This work began in May as a team effort between YPD and code compliance officers. It's a way to ramp up security in troubled neighborhoods and prepare officers for dangerous house calls.

Latched and locked. Diane lives with her family live along S. 6th St. It's the hub where Yakima police say is also home to the most gang members. She's seen a lot in more than twelve years here.

"Shootings, people yelling on the streets and throwing gang signs," said Diane. I don't want that around my family and I definitely don't want it around my kids. We're afraid of what's going to happen."

Yakima police told KIMA they have been working with code compliance officers since the beginning of summer to generate a list of gang-affiliated homes in the city. The list will go to every YPD and code enforcement officer.

"They need to know," said Yakima police Spokesperson Capt. Rod Light. "They need to be aware of what has been put together, you know, for their own safety and the safety of others."

Police said officers will check the list when responding to calls and decide if they need more support. It's also designed to keep gang members under a watchful eye and serve as a resource for investigations.

"The list is actually good," said Diane. "I mean, I would say that a couple houses need to be on that list around here."

Law enforcement officials said S. 6th St., S. 4th St. and N. 7th St. are highly populated with gang homes. Sometimes these families stay put for years, while others bounce from neighborhood to neighborhood.

"I'm very scared of the people that come in here or when a house next door is supposed to be rented out," said Diane. "I'm afraid of who's going in."

Besides locking their doors, some of the people along S. 6th St. have taken the extra step and added cameras.

Police will continue their work to find more gang-affiliated homes. It's new tool to protect themselves and everyone else.