Overall crime down 21 percent in Richland

RICHLAND, Wash. -- The KEPR Crime Tracker has found a significant drop in overall crime in Richland.

The crime rate fell more than 20 percent in just one year's time - despite an unusual number of homicides.

Amber Monbleau moved here from Texas almost three years ago. She says she feels safe in Richland.

"I don't really notice it because it's not really a focus of my everyday life," she said.

Amber can keep going about her everyday life, knowing crime continues to fall.

According to the year-end crime report, overall crime dropped 21 percent year to year, from nearly 69 crimes per capita to just over 54.
The most significant drop in crime came from drug incidents. Those numbers were cut by more than half.

The Richland Police Department couldn't say if this is a direct result to the change in marijuana laws.

The department says it's happy with the number of narcotics incidents going down but can't really pinpoint one thing that's accountable for the drop.

2013 did mark the start of Richland PD using a state-of-the-art geopolicing system called Smart Force. It helps track crime and target hot spots around the city.

Their street crimes unit used the system daily. It was key in busting a bad guy responsible for more than 100 car prowls and burglaries across Tri-Cities.

It's these property crimes that have still seen a slight uptick year to year.

"For me, criminal activity as far as breaking into people's houses and people's safety would be more of a concern than narcotics for me," Amber says.

Richland is holding off commenting on the success until after results are presented to city leaders this week.

The statistics did show one substantial jump: the homicide rate.

There were no murders in Richland in 2012, but in 2013, there was the death of a baby, the shooting of a teenager and the stabbing of a mother. One person was already convicted in those cases and three others are awaiting trial.