Violent crime dropped about 15 percent throughout the Tri-Cities in 2015, while property crimes increased in Richland.
The FBI recently published its 2015 Uniform Crime Report. The agency compiles reports on violent crime and property crimes from law enforcement agencies across the U.S. Violent crimes are murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes include burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.
Kennewick police reported an overall average 19.6 percent decrease in violent crimes from 2014-15. The number of murders declined from five to three, and robberies dropped from 42 in 2014 to 24 in 2015. They responded to 24 fewer aggravated assault cases.
One category increased: Police investigated 23.5 percent more rape cases, which increased from 34 to 42, the FBI said.
The number of arson cases that increased in Kennewick (from 13 in 2014 to 29 in 2015), while the rest of property crimes decreased.
Crimes such as rape, domestic violence and vandalism are some of the hardest to prevent, said Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin. He asked anyone seeing or hearing anything suspicious to call 911.
Arson cases increased by 123.1 percent from 13 in 2014 to 29 in 2015, while the rest of property crimes decreased. The department reported 117 fewer burglaries, 48 fewer thefts and 31 fewer stolen vehicles. The change is an 18.6 percent overall decrease in property crimes.
Crime decreased by 8.9 percent overall for Kennewick in 2015, the FBI said.
The Pasco Police Department reported a decrease in violent crimes and an increase of property crimes. The number of crimes decreased 0.4 percent overall in 2015, the FBI said.
In Pasco, robberies increased by 10, from 30 in 2014 to 40 in 2015.
The number of violent crimes decreased by 5.9 percent with murders declining from four to three in 2015, with two fewer rapes and 24 fewer aggravated assaults. Robberies increased by 10, from 30 in 2014 to 40 in 2015.
The number of property crimes increased slightly by 1.7 percent in 2015. The police department responded to four fewer burglaries, but investigated five more vehicle thefts, 11 more thefts and 14 more arson cases in 2015. Officers worked on solving 1,064 theft cases last year.
Violent crime in Richland decreased by 16.7 percent, while property crimes increased by 12.7 percent. The overall average is an 8.9 percent increase in crime from 2014-15, the FBI said.
The Richland police investigated five more rape cases, seven fewer robberies and 13 fewer aggravated assaults in 2015. There were no murders in 2014-15.
You can’t look at what’s happening in your cities because the criminals aren’t just stuck in your city. They’re committing crimes in both the cities and both the counties.
Sgt. Ken Lattin, Kennewick police
But burglaries and thefts increased. The police responded to 59 more burglaries and 191 more theft cases, the FBI said. The police department reported vehicle thefts declined by one, and there were no arson cases in 2015 after investigating four in 2014.
Property crimes may have increased because of repeat offenders who may have been released from jail, said Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb.
“We still find that a very, very small percentage is still responsible for a large percentage of our crime,” Cobb said.
Richland numbers for 2014-15
5 more rapes cases
7 fewer robberies
13 fewer aggravated assaults
There are no specific areas or trends related to where property crimes occur, which Cobb said makes crime analysis more difficult.
The West Richland police reported an overall 29.9 percent decrease in crime to the FBI.
In 2015, the department responded to one less rape, three fewer aggravated assaults and a single robbery. The city did not have a murder in 2014-15.
The number of burglaries decreased by 43.6 percent when the number of cases declined from 55 in 2014 to 31 in 2015. The responded to 39 fewer theft cases and three fewer vehicle thefts. Arson cases increased to a single case in 2015.
Cooperation is credited for the crime rate decreasing in the Tri-Cities.
The percentage of burglaries that decreased from 2014-15 in West Richland.
Crime analyst teams from the combined law enforcement agencies work together to track trends and increase proactive patrols to catch criminals, Cobb said.
Increased patrols and partnerships lower crime rates, Lattin said.
“That’s really the key for the Tri-Cities area, not just Kennewick,” he said. “You can’t look at what’s happening in your cities because the criminals aren’t just stuck in your city. They’re committing crimes in both the cities and both the counties.”