Latest results from Tacoma's crime reduction plan shows progress in enhancing public safety

Data-driven enforcement is making a difference in reducing crime in Tacoma.

The latest results of the Tacoma Police Department Violent Crime Reduction Plan were presented Tuesday during a city council study session.

Police Chief Avery Moore said between July and Dec. 2023, there was a nearly 19% decrease in violent street crimes — murder, robbery, and aggravated assault — compared to the same period in 2022.

"We’re down 40% year-to-date in homicides," Moore reported. "Overall, our violent crime is down 17.3% year-to-date, and total crime is down 23.6% year-to-date, and property crime is down 24.6%. So, yes, we’re still going in the right direction."

When crimes reached crisis levels in Tacoma, the police department turned to data-driven, evidence-based solutions for a cure. The Violent Crime Reduction Plan, first implemented in July 2022, was launched by Moore in partnership with researchers from the University of Texas San Antonio.

"This is the medicine that works, and we should keep using it," said Dr. Michael Smith, of the University of Texas at San Antonio. "The reason that these strategies are part of your crime plan is because they are evidence-based."

The plan works in three phases to reduce crime citywide, with increased attention in the most violent neighborhoods.

"We had to be really consistent with not causing harm to communities. And I’m really happy to say that we haven’t gotten any complaints about over policing, targeting policing. That’s what you want out of a comprehensive crime plan," said Moore.

The latest results of the plan are from July 2023 to Dec. 2023. During that time, researchers said the number of murders did not change, but aggravated assaults were down significantly, at more than 25%. Smith said there is still work to be done to address business robberies, which increased almost 14% compared to the previous year.

"This is good evidence that the crime plan is having the kind of effect that we hoped that it would. Not only is violent crime going down, but citizen calls for service related to violent crime are also going down," said Smith. 

An important part of the plan includes officers conducting hot spot patrol treatment at known locations where crime is highest. Researchers said hot spot patrol areas saw violent crimes decrease by more than 13% compared to the previous year. Officials said the surrounding catchment areas also saw a decline of almost 19% in violent crime, showing the success of efforts in preventing crime displacement.

"It’s confirmation that crime is just not moving around the corner when we treat these hot spots," said Smith.

The plan is entering phase three, which focuses on deterring known high risk and repeat offenders through social programs and increased enforcement. Phase three will include the east side of Tacoma along the East 25th Corridor, covering a five-block area. Efforts began on April 1.

The current plan operates from 2022–2025. During the study session, Mayor Victoria Woodards asked Moore and researchers what would happen after the plan is completed.

"How do we implement the crime plan, and what does life look after the implementation of a crime plan like this?" asked Woodards.


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Moore responded, "When I was hired, I said the key to the crime plan is consistency. And it’s also important that you don’t stop and celebrate before you should. So, the goal is to have all three phases working simultaneously, then we can actually decide, based on data, if we want to continue or not."