TACOMA, WA - Tacoma is facing a massive increase in arsons, and city leaders are taking immediate action to curb these dangerous crimes.
Police report a 193% increase in arsons this summer compared to the same time last year.
From June 1 to Aug. 1, a period of a little more than 60 days, police say the city of Tacoma had 82 arsons. In 2020, the number of arsons during the same length of time was 28.
Police report these incidents are in two concentrated areas: the downtown corridor and near 24th/25th Street corridor from the area of Tacoma Avenue and Portland Avenue.
"It’s terrible this happened, and there is a lot of emotion and we have to press on, but it’s not the end. The building is gone, but the church lives forever," said John Matthews.
Matthews is the pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church off the 57 block of East Portland Avenue in Tacoma.
On July 22, his church burned down. Investigators say the cause of the fire is suspicious.
During a city council session on Tuesday, city leaders discussed these incidents.
Police officials say they are cracking down. Police say they have implemented scheduled surveillance teams to work during the hours when the majority of the arsons are happening.
So far, police say they have made two arrests and have leads on other people of interest.
Police report a noticeable change in the frequency of these arsons already since the start of August.