As the police shortage continues and crime rises, residents are looking to each other in supporting a safer Tacoma.
The lack of responders in the city is taking a toll on its residents and those residents are asking to reinforce police officers who will protect their city.
In a report released by the FBI in Sept 2021, Tacoma’s total crime rate is 171% higher than the national average. As crime rises in homicides, arson and assaults, three council members have written to Victoria Woodards, Mayor of Tacoma, demanding increasing safety between civilians and closing police shortage gaps.
As crime rises, the shortage of police personnel intensifies the rising violence.
In Tacoma, the police staffing shortage is placing strain on the residents as well as the low staffed officers. As they depart, their spots remain vacant causing burdens on citizens who seek assistance. As of now, the TPD has lost 322 officers leaving 42 vacancies, causing response times to take two or more hours.
With many police officers resigning, out of fear many residents are joining organizations such as Tacoma Safe. Tacoma Safe was created in efforts to address the rise in crime and advocate for the safety of residents.
Co-founder of Tacoma Safe, Monique Patterson operates a housing complex for vulnerable women and children and has seen the consequences of reduced police staffing firsthand such as being told ,“No police will come, you will just have to protect yourself” by a 911 operator when she made a 911 call regarding domestic violence.
As a result, Tacoma Safe has begun its own organization to report non-violent crimes like identity theft, vehicle prowl, vandalism and even destruction of property.
Public safety has become a matter in which residents feel they are being failed in. Lynette Scheidt, President of the Eastside Neighborhood Council, serves as a voluntary advisory council in engaging residents to act on issues and concerns.
Now more than ever, neighborhood councils and organizations are coming together in support of each other against rising crime and lack of city responders.