Report: Kent crime rate down

The crime rate in Kent decreased by 16 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the latest numbers from Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Thursday, June 7, 2012 4:09pm
  • News

For the Kent Reporter

The crime rate in Kent decreased by 16 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the latest numbers from Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

“Our city is doing very well,” Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas said. “I know we’ve had a lot of residential burglaries and some other crimes, but as it compares to years in the past, we are really, really a safe city. We’re a very good city, and you should feel really good about living or being in the city of Kent.”

The crime rate is the number of index offenses for each 1,000 people in the population. Kent’s 2011 population was 118,200. The city had a crime rate of 47.2 in 2011. The crimes include murder, rape, robbery, assault, arson, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

The Kent Police Department presented a community meeting last week attended by more than 70 residents at Panther Lake Elementary School. Police officials addressed community concerns and provided information on crime statistics for the area.

Two prominent crimes in Kent are burglaries and car prowls.

Cmdr. Derek Kammerzell said after a peak in residential burglaries during the winter, burglaries are now on a downward trend, but the city tends to have spikes in these types of crimes during the holiday season and the summer. With summer coming, police are concerned about another peak.

“So many of our homes are dual-income homes, meaning that both adults are at work during the day,” he said. “That leaves them especially vulnerable for daytime burglaries. So, that combined with a lot of our burglaries are done by juveniles, when school lets out in the summer, we’ve got empty homes and a lot of unsupervised juveniles, so that’s where we get our summertime peak.”

While the police department organizes preventative policing tactics to decrease the number of crimes, they also suggest that community members get involved as well by reporting suspicious behavior and joining or creating block watch groups.

“Together we can partner to make a safer community,” Kammerzell said.

Cmdr. Eric Hemmen works the valley sector of the city. Car prowls are a primary concern in the valley within apartment complexes, residential areas and in the business complexes.

“What we’ve been doing for that is we’ve been looking at our statistics,” Hemmen said. “We’ve been finding out where most of the car prowls are happening, and then we’ve directed patrols towards those areas.”

This tactic has helped police bring in suspects, he said. But he also recommended taking preventative measures to stop crimes before they happen such as removing valuables from vehicles.

Kent residents and neighbors Tonya Vanover and Mary Jacob attended the community meeting together to gain more information on crimes in their community and find out how they can get involved.

Vanover’s power tools were stolen from her backyard recently.

“I just want to know what else is going on, and how I can help prevent further activity,” she said. “I thought things were OK in my neighborhood, so I was just surprised.”

Both Vanover and Jacob recommended attending meetings like these, getting more involved with the community as ways of preventing crimes and reporting suspicious activity when they see it.

“Get involved,” Jacob said. “Don’t sit back and assume somebody else is going to call the police.”

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