One of the main tenets of the I Heart Yakima movement is positivity. But one of the main aspects of our community where we are hardest on ourselves is crime. While, of course, there areas for improvement, especially when it comes to property crime, we wanted to share some true, positive statements about crime in our community:
· We have been on a 10 year decline in violent crime.
· Washington in general — and Seattle and Spokane in particular — has a significant car theft problem compared to other states in the Pacific Northwest (due to lax penalties).
· The Yakima Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) violent crime rate (which takes into account population) was actually significantly below the national rate in 2011.
· The Yakima MSA violent crime rate was better than Spokane, Seattle and even Bend, Or.
· In even more recent news, according to KIMA, spring burglaries are down, as are first quarter car thefts.
Yes, we cherry picked from balanced content. But that supports the point, which is this: we must take responsibility to report to our friends and families here -- and elsewhere -- the BALANCED truth about our community. “Reporting” includes what we all do on Facebook, online, in conversation and even in nicknames and jokes about our community. “Balanced” means sharing both our good scores and our bad.
Why is it important that we make this effort in personal responsibility? As was pointed out in the blog in 247wallst.com, perception is everything: “While residents reported feeling unsafe in the McAllen, Texas, and Yakima, Wash., metropolitan areas, both had violent crime rates below the national rate of 386 per 100,000 people.”
Why do we feel unsafe, even when we are (comparatively) safer? It has to do with how well-publicized crime is in a city, and the fact that “people are less likely to notice falling crime rates than rising ones, as worsening crime is more likely to receive media coverage.”
Context is essential. Panting the whole picture makes for a clearer vision of the present. And allows us more space to work toward a better future.