TACOMA, Wash. - Neighbors in Tacoma's eastside are concerned that crime is spiraling out of control, particularly after two homicides were reported in just 24 hours.
"It’s not a surprise what’s going on because we don’t have the police around us," said one neighbor.
A big complaint among neighbors is a lack of police presence on the streets and a lack of resources available to those who are vulnerable to falling into a life of crime.
The latest shooting occurred only minutes past midnight on Monday morning. South Sound 911 took a call reporting a shooting near East 44th Street along Portland Avenue.
Tacoma Police arrived to find a 48-year-old man shot to death in a strip mall parking lot. Barely 50 feet away, a memorial displaying flowers and a cross bearing the name of another community member soaked in the rain.
Less than a mile away Sunday morning, police discovered a 22-year-old woman shot to death on Howe Street. Tacoma Police say her boyfriend called 911 to report the incident and was also in the shooting.
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards described double-digit increases for some property crimes during her state of the city address last week. Violent crime is also on the rise, which leads some to worry desperation is gripping their neighbors and pushing an increase in crime.
"When you go from thriving to living to surviving, I believe 80% of that generation only know what it looks like to survive," said Tacoma Cease Fire organizer Candace Wesley.
She hopes the mayor and new police chief include her community’s engagement as they formulate a plan to tackle crime, and that community members will also be part of the response when neighbors call 911 for help.
"Tacoma is the city of destiny. We’re not going to stop," she said. "Change is of the essence and I believe our city has the ability to turn things around."
The city is currently attempting to lure scores of news officers to the department, hoping to fill nearly 50 open positions.
Tara Scheidt, a member of the Eastside Neighborhood Council shared the following statement with FOX 13 News.
"The recent crime uptick in East Tacoma is the response when a community is in survival mode. The activity isn’t happening in one area or police sector and many times the crimes are against property. For too long Covid was the reason police were not arresting and booking those caught committing crimes and the message was sent across the community loud and clear that our city was soft and an easy target. Police can make arrests all day long but until prosecutors start charging folks we will remain a city that only has the ability to catch and immediately release. Businesses have had enough. Citizens have had enough. It’s time that Pierce County puts it foot down and starts prosecuting career criminals. Tacoma is a beautiful city of great humans and deserves to have enforced criminal action on those terrorizing this city."
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