CRIME TRACKER: Property crimes decreasing in Benton County

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- Matthew Smith has lived in his Richland neighborhood for almost 20 years.

He tells KEPR, "It's been a good neighborhood, but from time to time, we've had some folks come through and there's been vandalism."

He's not alone. The overall property crime rate in Benton County is a little over 28 crimes per thousand people. That's 5,000 thefts, robberies, and vandalism cases. The state overall had 38 of these crimes committed per thousand people.

I broke down our local numbers by city. Last year, Prosser had 32 crimes per thousand, RIchland nearly 20 and Kennewick.. over 35.
Compare that to 2011 and every city saw less crime in the county.

"It's not surprising. I think everyone's being much more vigilant. Folks are keeping an eye out for each other," Matthew says.

Police say they have made property crimes a priority, but attribute a lot of the success to you.. many neighbors joining in a neighborhood watch.

"Everyone's getting their lights turned on at night and I think that's helped a great deal." Matthew continues.

Matthew's neighborhood has a watch. He says it's important to him that the whole community gets involved. He feels safer knowing that other neighborhoods are joining in too.

"Just to be comfortable in your own home, not worry about, ya know, anyone busting in when you're gone and stealing your valuables," he says.

We also looked into Franklin County's numbers and property crimes there jumped 30-percent last year.