Tacoma burglary rates drop 22 percent

TACOMA, Wash. – Burglaries in Tacoma have historically been high, with the city ranking third in the state. But with a new initiative in place, the number is down in staggering rates.

In addition to a partnership between the Tacoma Police Department and the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, Tacoma Police are conducting “predictive policing,” which gives patrol officers data on where and when crimes might happen next.

While the efforts didn’t help one couple whose house was broken into, police believe their efforts will bring crime even lower.

“The (surveillance video) shot that I pulled up first was actually when he was walking out of our door, and it's just like a stab to the heart,” said a recent burglary victim in Tacoma, who only wanted to be identified as Donna.

The wounds for Donna and her husband, Ed, are still fresh as they watch surveillance video of a burglar stealing from their home. It’s a scenario law enforcement officers in Tacoma have been trying to reduce for years.

“We were seeing an uptick in burglaries, which is why we wanted to focus on those crimes and get on top of the problem and reduce the amount,” said Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist.

“We wanted to focus on two things -- aggressively prosecuting burglars, especially repeat burglars, the 10 percent committing 90 percent of the crimes,” said Lindquist. “Secondly, we wanted to take advantage of advances in technology, specifically we wanted to use DNA, which we have.”

Police say the initiative has reduced burglaries by 22 percent, but law enforcement agencies say their work isn’t over.

“We want to make our community safer, and this is a big step in that direction,” said Lindquist.

The initiative will continue throughout this year, and police say it could also focus on other property crimes, like car prowls.