Want to have a little dark fun? Visit the City of Tacoma crime statistics map and check out crime in your neighborhood.
Over the past five years, reports of crime in my North End neighborhood have exponentially increased. My close neighbor recently had hand tools and a bike stolen from his (closed) garage. Friends in the neighborhood report thefts of Ray-Bans, credit cards, groceries and Christmas presents from their cars.
Last Christmas, one neighbor reported that he returned home from shopping and left presents for his older children in the car while he took the baby inside and changed her diaper. When he returned to the car, the presents were gone.
Many neighbors no longer dare to have packages delivered to their doorsteps. Porch thefts of everything from Amazon packages to potted plants, shoes and patio furniture occur every week where I live.
Neighborhood gossip and social media reports should be viewed with skepticism, but the crime statistics provided by the city and reported in this newspaper support the reports. Plus, many of us no longer bother to report crimes because it does no good.
Last month on Next Door, a neighborhood network, a neighbor reported that she no longer expects police to respond to her calls regarding theft, but she was shocked when she called 911 to report domestic violence in the street in front of her house and no officers came to help. This was a situation involving clear assault. The neighbor said she called police twice.
Five months ago, the TNT reported findings of the Tacoma crime task force and revealed that nearly 90 percent of property crimes reported to police in Tacoma are not pursued for lack of evidence or resources. Furthermore, it found Tacoma has the highest rate of crime in Western Washington for cities our size, and Washington has the highest crime rates in the country as tabulated by the FBI.
One councilman commented that the city’s police force is still 60 officers short of its 2008 numbers. And while 19 officers would be added under the proposed 2017 city budget, that still leaves us more than 40 short.
“We can’t afford to arrest our way out of this” the co-chairman of the task force was reported saying in the June presentation.
Really? In my neighborhood, just a few arrests would make a big impact.
Two or three perpetrators have been photographed or videotaped multiple times in the act of breaking and entering or leaving a location with goods. Some are recognized and named. Cars are identified.
One man with a distinctive appearance has been photographed at least six times riding a bicycle and towing along other bikes and merchandise reported as missing. I passed him just the other day in an adjacent neighborhood, tooling around on a kid’s bike. This information is shared with police, yet criminals are not stopped.
What is going on, Tacoma? Our property taxes are astronomical (one neighbor has posted a sign in his front yard, stating that his are over $800 a month), yet we can't protect the property of hard-working residents? Do these crimes rates advance the city's goal of bringing in business and residents?
It seems to me that a safe community, in which people can forget to put the lawn mower away on a Saturday and find it Sunday morning right where it was left, will encourage happy families while leading to the rapid real estate growth we all desire.
Barbara Parsons is a college English professor and writer who lives in Tacoma's North End. She is one of six reader columnists who write for this page. Contact her at email@example.com.