Violent crime rate up by 20% in 2021 compared to last year, Kennewick PD says

KENNEWICK, Wash. — The violent crime rate in the Tri-Cities is spiking, but officials said that seems to be the case both state and nationwide.

In Kennewick, the crime rate has risen by 20% so far in 2021 compared to last year, according to Officer Trujillo with KPD.

That percentage includes homicide, robbery, aggravated assault, and enforceable sex offenses.

Homicide: 1 to 5

Robbery: 37 both years

Aggravated assault: 97 to 120

Sex offenses: 98 to 117

Officer Trujillo said there are multiple reasons as to why the crime rate is rising, with the first being the pandemic putting restrictions and limits on jail.

“A lot of times, officers are not able to book somebody in for a lesser crime into jail and then that allows them to commit more crimes before they’re caught again,” Trujillo said. “But those restrictions have been easing and hopefully we can get back to where we are booking people and holding them accountable.”

Another potential reason he mentioned is HB 1310, which Gov. Inslee signed in May to help build an extensive police accountability system in Washington.

READ: Washington’s new police reform laws have good intentions and hazardous consequences

“Our officers are just adjusting to the new laws and how we respond to calls,” Trujillo said. “We’re still looking at ways that we can do that better. We’re also just becoming more familiar with what we can and can’t do.”

Trujillo added that “officers are doing the best that they can” but they’re reaching out to the community for assistance.

“I would just stress that when people see something that is happening that they believe is illegal or something out of place, that they would please call us so that we can try and interdict that before it becomes more serious,” Trujillo said. “We’re hoping that next year we’re going to be able to bring these numbers down.”

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