Tacoma police say violent crime is trending down due to data-based policing strategy

TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma police released new data revealing violent crime is trending down due to its evidence-based policing strategy, however, murders and business robberies rose.

Leaders of the Tacoma Police Department, including the police chief and a consultant that is working with the department, shared results of its Violent Crime Reduction Plan to city council Tuesday afternoon.

The presentation focused on the department’s three phases:

1. Increase police presence at areas where violent crime is concentrated through hot spots policing strategy

2. Use problem-oriented, place-based policing approach

3. Focus on strategies to break the cycle of violence among repeat and high-risk offenders who are responsible for most of Tacoma’s violent crimes


Since July of 2022, the Tacoma Police Department has been using its near-term hot spots policing strategy where officers are seen at locations with a high risk of violence.

Authorities shared a chart at the meeting, indicating violent crime had been on the rise since 2019, however, the trend changed in July of 2022, when the department began using its new strategy, Dr. Michael Smith, the consultant said.

But not all violent crimes were trending downward.

Smith showed a chart that indicated the number of assaults and individual robberies decreased for the last six months of 2023, compared to the same time period in 2022.

However, the number of murders slightly increased, while the number of business robberies grew, for the same yearly comparison.


Police said their mid-term strategy, POPBP, focused on addressing underlying conditions that contribute to reoccurring issue in areas where there is a high risk of violent crimes, including Hosmer Street.

Officers have been working with community stakeholders and members to address the violence, which led to improvements, Smith said.

Smith said the solutions to improving Hosmer Street are the following:

1. Code compliance by affected properties

2. Homeless solutions

3. Blight/trash removal

4. Engagement with community stakeholders

The presentation also indicated that violent crimes in Tacoma decreased by 18.6% during the last six months of 2023, compared to the same time period in 2022, however, the number of yearly violent crimes is still higher compared to prior to the pandemic.

Violent crime in treated hot spots was also down by more than 13% compared to the same months last year, the presentation indicated.

Smith also said the number of calls for violent crimes was also down 15% city-wide, and 8% in treated hot spots, compared to last year.

“We’re not just doing things ad hoc the way they have always been done because that’s the way we’ve always done them, but rather to follow the evidence and the scene. And the evidence and the science suggest to me as Chief Moore just said, this is the medicine that works and we should keep using it for the long-term,” said Smith.

“It’s also important that you don’t stop, and you celebrate before you should. The goal is to have all three phases working simultaneously then we can actually decide based on data if we’re going to continue or not,” police chief Avery Moore told the city’s mayor.

Moore told the council that consistency is key.

KIRO 7 News requested an interview with police chief Moore, however, a spokesperson declined our request.

Smith and the police chief said they will begin discussions and planning soon for phase 3, which is focused on deterrence.


KIRO 7 News drove to Hosmer Street, the areas where police said had a higher risk of violence, and asked residents about the new data, and if it aligns with what they’re seeing.

“I haven’t seen it. Hopefully in time that will show through,” said Erin Mazir, who’s lived in the area for two years. “Lots of stuff happening, drug stuff, and killings, and stuff like that. A lot more than what was publicized.”

“You always have to keep your eye out. You never know what people’s intentions are,” she added.

Brandon Burkhart, a father, told KIRO 7 News, “I personally haven’t seen it.”

“I’m worried about my daughter’s safety,” he said. “Like I said, I don’t let my kids go out here or nothing like that.”

Burkhart said he has not seen an increased presence of officers in the area, including when his vehicle was stolen.

“I don’t’ really see no cops here ever.  Our car got broken into and got stolen from here. You just got to lock your stuff up and keep your kids locked up,” he said. “You go out here and see them (people) smoking on foil out there. They do it right in the open. It’s crazy.”

KIRO 7 News drove down Hosmer Street and witnessed a verbal conflict with a store owner and another man. The owner said he tried asking the man to leave the property after he was smoking drugs in front of his store, but the man did not cooperate.

Shortly after, a KIRO 7 News photojournalist was assaulted by another man near the area.

A woman witnessed the incident.

“Assault your camera guy,” said Virginia Moriarty, who’s lived in the area for six years. “People don’t respect other people’s livelihoods.”

“People getting beat up over tin foil. People getting robbed for their clothes,” she said. “This is a totally different thing for me. Safety is one thing. This is, I would prefer to be in a car or inside most times.”

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