Sunnyside neighbors: One homicide is one too many

Sunnyside neighbors: One homicide is one too many
SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- People in Sunnyside want the name of the town to match what it means. Even with overall crime down, they feel one homicide is one too many.

"I'm not too safe, like coming to the park or walking the streets because you never know," said Estella Evans.

Estella Evans said crime's been better now than before in Sunnyside, but she's still scared. Estella knew the family of the 18 year old boy who was shot at the South Hill Park last year and now she worries about her own safety.

"Like any other family, they're sad, they're hurt and you don't know how it hurts until it happens to you,” said Estella.

Sunnyside police are making sure it doesn't happen again. In addition to the gang unit, they've increased patrol shifts, created crime free rental housing, and aggressively addressed code violations.

To say it's been a success would be an understatement. In 2010, there were six homicides in Sunnyside. Police said this was because several drive-by shootings. In 2011, there was just one homicide and last year, it was the same.

Police have been able to lower the number of violent incidents, which has also helped lower the number of homicides.

Joe Meersman said he feels police are doing their job of keeping violence down.

"I see them out on patrol a lot,” said Joe. “They definitely have a presence here in town."

Joe said he still walks his dog at the South Hill Park every day and is not scared of crime.

"I think these are not random acts of crime,” said Joe. “I think they are targeted."

With more of a watchful eye from police, neighbors hope their strolls in the city will stay out of danger.

The success doesn't end there. In 2012, there were 50 fewer gang incidents than the year before.