Tacoma City Councilmembers call for increased police presence after rise in violent crimes

Several Tacoma city leaders are requesting more police presence on the streets to curb the increase in violent crime.

City Councilmembers Robert Thoms, Conor McCarthy, Lillian Hunter, and John Hines sent a letter to the mayor and city manager of Tacoma requesting more police presence on the streets.

The letter addresses the increasing violent crimes Tacoma is seeing year after year.

Just this week, Tacoma reported a 193% increase in arsons in comparison to the same time period in 2020.

The summer has also seen several violent homicide incidents, a continuing concern as Tacoma faced the highest number of homicides in 2020 that the city had seen since the 90s.

The letter requests an increase to the number of Tacoma Police Department patrols per sector, per shift. The letter states the goal is not to increase the number of arrests, but to "reassure the public we are still present in their community."

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"Makes me feel good that they are asking for that too. It makes me feel a lot better. That they actually feel the same way. I feel like nobody is paying attention or nobody is doing anything so it’s nice to know that somebody is also feeling the same way," said Monica Colby.

Colby lives in Tacoma. She says she loves her city, but the increase in violence has been concerning.

Colby says she thinks increased police patrols with the focus of connecting with the community would help the issues. However, she says it’s not the only solution to the problem.

"I think there are deeper issues going on like mental health. There is no help for those people"

Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards responded to the letter in a statement saying: 

"Like the authors of the letter, we all want to live in a community that is safe and free from crime. And I think my entire City Council would agree that our police department and its officers are an important part of responding locally to the increases in homicide and arson that are occurring across the nation. This is a complex issue, and the full Council has been discussing and asking questions about what can be done to address public safety concerns. This is why we asked for weekly reports on crime statistics beginning in May of last year.

Building on conversations with my peers on the Council, business leaders, and other impacted members of our community, I asked our City Manager and Police Chief to open broader discussion of this complex policy issue at our Study Session on Tuesday, August 24th. That meeting will provide an update on what has been done, current efforts underway, and foundational information to ensure shared understanding as we work to address rising crime in our community. I look forward to in-depth discussions where we can evaluate all the tools we have available as we take action on the best path forward together."

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