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Recent spike in crime has neighbors on high alert

KEPR Action News
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The recent spike in criminal activity, all happening within days of each other, has some neighbors on edge.

Within a week, police responded to two suspected homicides and a shooting in Kennewick. Just over the river in Pasco, police responded to a stabbing and a drive-by shooting.

"There's a lot of particularly violent crimes in the last week that really have brought things to people's attention," Lt. Jason Kiel with the Kennewick Police Department (KPD) said.

Lt. Kiel said statistics show a rise in crime in Kennewick and across the state. Benton County Sheriff Tom Croskrey said it appears the recent events are isolated and the public is not believed to be in any danger.

"It's not this massive crime wave or gang that's infiltrating the Tri-Cities," Croskrey said. "This is just another random event and it just happened to be on the heels of other events in the Tri-Cities."

Jeri Manship has been living with her husband for 32 years in Kennewick. They live right down the street from the scene of Friday's murder where a 70-year-old man lost his life.

"When I moved here I thought, 'Oh what a nice, family-oriented place' and that's all changed," Manship said. "It's just like being in the city again. We just have to watch everyone."

She said they've recently installed a Ring doorbell system and built a masonry wall around the house for extra security.

"We're very careful about locking up at night and just being more careful than we used to," Manship said.

The same goes for Cassandra Eldhart, Manship's neighbor.

"I fear for my kids lives," Eldhart said. "I don't like them to play out front in my front yard without me being here because you never know what could happen."

Eldhart said if anything the recent activity has just served as a reminder to stay vigilant.

"It could happen again and it could be even closer," Eldhart said. "Even though it was just around the block it could be right in front of my house. It's pretty scary. The crime rate is going up, really bad."

Lt. Kiel said there's not a simple answer to explain the rise in crime. The question now is how to drive crime down, which isn't easy to answer either.

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"It's going to take the community. It's not going to just be the police department or different facets of society. It's going to be our entire community that has to collectively work towards driving crime down," Lt. Kiel said.

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