CRIME TRACKER: Weapon complaints low

TRI-CITIES - It's quite possibly one of the hottest topics this year. Gun control and public safety.

KEPR is following up on gun-related incidents right here in the Tri-Cities. We found the occurrence of dangerous situations is low. We crunched the numbers.

They're legal to own, use and shoot. But when placed in the hands of a criminal -- it can endanger the very lives of those around them.

Alexander Sirarath lives in Pasco -- and says the sound of gun shots is familiar.

"Sometimes I feel like it's fireworks and the 4th of July -- especially around that time, but in other circumstances -- I hear gun shots and it's kind of scary," said Pasco Resident Alexander Sirarath.

Alexander says it makes him worry about his child's safety.

"My kids going to school -- my little girl -- that they feel safe and can go to school or a movie and not feel threatened," added Sirarath.

So he was glad to hear complaints about weapons to police were at a low in 2012 across Richland and Kennewick. This can be any time someone calls to report gunshots or sees someone with anything like a bat -- knife or brass knuckles.

Richland Police classifies these under weapons violations. There were 46 weapon violations last year.
While this is almost once a week, that category can include everything from a suspicious BB gun to illegal hunting.

It's a similar story in Kennewick. Police report less than 90 weapon complaints. Only about ten were proven to actually include a weapon -- others could be a car backfiring or fireworks.

"The vast majority of them are unfounded," said Kennewick Police Corporal Todd Dronen.

Within those cases -- several involve simple possession. Meaning -- a person could threaten another with a gun.

"Many crimes of violence are domestic or gang-related. The random acts of violence in our city is relatively low," said Dronen.

Working to keep gun violence at bay...and investigate weapon crimes to keep citizens like Alexander -- safe.

"I hope that between the people and the laws and everything -- that we can work together," said Sirarath.

Just Friday - a woman reported a bullet hitting her house in West Richland. Police have no suspects at this time.

We always work to keep our stories balanced - we checked on gun incidents in Pasco, but individual statistics were unavailable today.