Police: Fewer shots fired every year in Sunnyside

Police: Fewer shots fired every year in Sunnyside »Play Video
SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- Sunnyside has been working to stop violence in the community. It seems to be paying off when it comes to the number of gunshots counted in the city.

Luis Ramos says when you walk down the streets of Sunnyside today, you're more likely to see cops than gang members. A big change from just a few years ago.

"I feel pretty safe, because nowadays you don't see people walking down with their bandanas, now you see more cops getting involved, they're more, they react faster," said Ramos.

And, not only do they react quickly, but Sunnyside police told me they're more much more proactive. The two officers in their gang unit actively seek out warrants to go after gang members and any trouble that's affecting the community.

"There's not that many shootings, and, yeah, there's not really that much drive-by shootings," said Ahni Sevilla, from Sunnyside.

Shootings can often be assessed by counting the number of confirmed shots fired. That figure has been cut in half in Sunnyside, every year, for the past four years. Confirmed shots fired means police got a call of a shot fired. The investigation determines it came from a gun, and wasn't just a firework or a car backfiring.

There were 44 confirmed shots fired back in 2010. The number started falling off in 2011 until it reached just five last year. Of those five, there was only one person hit. Compare that to three the year before.

Police credit cooperation from community partners as making a difference.This includes hotels cracking down on crime, and schools continuing their gang prevention programs.

"People feel more safe they feel like they an go out without being scared they can walk around and stuff," said Britany Hernandez, from Sunnyside.

And, police say their increased presence encourages people to report problems before something goes wrong.

Sunnyside was down three police officers at the end of last year. It's now down only one.