The number of crimes reported in Sunnyside in 2007 has just been released by the Sunnyside Police Department and the statistics show violent crime is going down in Sunnyside.
However, the numbers also show petty crime, like burglaries and theft, especially car theft, has increased since 2006.
There was just one criminal homicide in Sunnyside in 2007. That's the same number reported in 2006.
The Sunnyside Police Department received six reports of forcible rape in 2007, two more than in 2006. Sunnyside Police Chief Ed Radder said with crimes against a person, such as rape, the reports can go up if the department is perceived as doing a good job of investigating these types of crime. If a victim feels comfortable with investigators they are more than likely to report the incident than if the victim feels justice won't be served.
The number of robberies declined in 2007 by six from the previous year. There were six robberies reported in Sunnyside in 2007 compared with 12 reported in 2006.
Assaults were also down, with 422 reported in 2007 and 444 reported in 2006.
Radder said robberies and assaults usually follow a national trend.
"What's really helped us is that the second half of the year we've been operating at full-strength," Radder said. "We have been able to follow up on more cases and be more proactive."
While robbery and assault reports have decreased in 2007, petty crime has increased.
There were 14 more reports of theft in 2007 than in 2006, a number that is fairly insignificant. There were 729 thefts reported in 2006 and that number climbed to 743 in 2007.
Burglary reports saw a sharp increase in 2007. Reports show 552 burglaries were reported in 2007. That's an increase of 124 over the 428 reports received in 2006.
Motor vehicle thefts also jumped in 2007. There were 158 vehicles reported stolen in 2006 and that number rose by 53 in 2007, with 211 vehicles reported stolen.
With petty theft, Radder said the economy drives some of it and it's something his officers keep their eyes on. He said drugs play a role in it, noting a substantial amount of the petty crimes are connected to the drug trade.
As for the vehicle thefts, Radder said this is a problem Yakima Valley is facing as a whole.
"There is a lot of joy riding," Radder explained. "The majority of the vehicles are taken for a ride, dumped and then burned."
Overall, Radder said 2007 was a good year but he would like to see the numbers go down even further. He said the Sunnyside Police Department will be out in force in 2008 to make sure that happens.
Radder said at the beginning of next week he and his officers will sit down to look at the numbers and will plot out a plan for 2008.