This past weekend, the City Council held its annual retreat and dedicated the whole afternoon to a conversation on public safety in University Place. This gave me an opportunity to present a review of UPPD operations and our contract with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. I also provided crime statistics in U.P. Here is a brief recap of what I shared:
|Type of Crime||2016||2017||2018||2019|
Although we have seen a positive decline in property crimes, specifically car prowls (down 13 percent) and vehicle thefts (down 15 percent), we have experienced an increase in violent crime (robbery, rape, murder, and aggravated assault), specifically assault and robberies. Part of the increase is due to several shoplifting incidents that turned into strong-arm robberies because the suspect used physical force to escape. It is important to note, however, that no weapon was used.
I always stress that University Place is a safe community, but it is not a crime-free community. We have work to do to make things better and help people feel safe, but it is important to remember that crime statistics are just one measure of safety in a community.
Now let’s take a look at the number of calls we respond to each year:
Dispatched calls have remained fairly consistent and the number of traffic stops completed by our officers has gone down. Each dispatched call we receive takes an average of 39.7 minutes to resolve, which leaves our officers roughly 20 minutes of discretionary time per hour to complete reports and other administrative tasks. Although certain days and times are busier than others (i.e. weekend nights), with two officers in the field per shift, I believe we are understaffed for a city this size with the type and volume of calls we encounter.
I will be expanding on this topic more at our Public Safety Forum, which will be held on Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. in the Town Hall Gallery (3609 Market Place W.). This is your opportunity to share your ideas and concerns about Public Safety in University Place, including our staffing levels. I will talk further on some of these points and we can discuss what public safety should look like in U.P. We will also have more information about our upcoming Public Safety classes so you can enroll on the spot. Please make plans to attend.