Submitted by Tacoma Business Council.
Tacoma, WA – A gathering of Tacoma business owners took place on January 26, 2022, at America’s Car Museum. Over 400 people attended. One of the organizers, Steve Jones, explained, “The purpose of the gathering was to create a forum to unite business owners and discuss solutions to the incidents of crime throughout the city.” The event was hosted by TacomaSafe’s business committee consisting of Kristina Maritczak, Courtney Farmer, Steve Jones, Dena Jones, Brett Johnson, Stephanie Grassi and Teryn Reche.
Key elected officials from Tacoma were present to listen to the business communities’ concerns including
City Manager Elizabeth Pauli, Mayor Victoria Woodards, Chief of Police Avery Moore, Deputy Mayor Catherine Ushka, Councilmember Sarah Rumbaugh, Councilmember Conor McCarthy, and Head of Economic Development Jeff Robinson. County officials present were Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, County Prosecutor Mary Robnett and Pierce County Councilmember Ryan Mello.
A diverse group of business owners from districts throughout the city presented their perspective on various issues and recounted incidents of crimes to which their businesses have been subjected through a pre- recorded video and then a panel discussion. Other speakers included Angela Connelly, one of the cofounders of TacomaSafe as well as Sarah Rumbaugh, newly elected to the City Council, and Tacoma’s new Chief of Police, Avery Moore. Chief Moore addressed the audience and promised that the Tacoma Police Department, “will not fail you” in relation to the concerns raised by various businesses. He also promised to implement a community policing plan and work with business owners in preventing crime and providing support to the community after an incident may occur. He received great applause from the participants and was welcomed to our city.
The immediate concerns of the participants were (1) shortening the response time to 911 calls so businesses can get help right away; (2) driving down the crime against their businesses; and (3) working with the police department and city government toward solutions on crime prevention.
Some of the solutions discussed were (1) to develop a community policing model to address the needs of victimized businesses, (2) to create a task force to address crime in Tacoma by uniting public institutions and private companies, and (3) to form a coalition of businesses and police to understand the root causes of criminal activity impacting businesses and proactively develop solutions.
In advance of the meeting, Mayor Victoria Woodards expressed her willingness to meet with a committee of businesses on a regular basis and work together to address their issues. Additionally, Mayor Woodards announced that the city government is working on a plan to support businesses that will be made public shortly.
After the event, Kristen Wynne, an attendee and Tacoma business owner stated that for the first time in many years, she is “excited and hopeful that some of the city’s issues with crime will be addressed.”
Kristina Maritczak, another event organizer, stated, “As a result of the information presented and discussions with city and county officials, we now are launching the Tacoma Business Council that will be made up of business representatives from around the city. We expect the Tacoma Business Council to serve as a voice for the business community and a vehicle through which the business community will unify and work together to propose solutions.” The Tacoma Business Council will work with the Tacoma Police Department, Tacoma city officials, Pierce County officials and other stakeholders to have constructive conversations to promote solutions in a collaborative manner.
Interested parties wanting to participate in the Tacoma Business Council are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the contacts above.
About Tacoma Business Council
Located in Tacoma, Washington, the Tacoma Business Council is being launched by a group of concerned business owners to address the problems plaguing the business community within the City of Tacoma. The purpose of this business group will be to unite the business community and work with the Tacoma Police Department, Tacoma city officials, Pierce County officials and other stakeholders to have constructive conversations to promote solutions in a collaborative manner. The organization is not affiliated with any political party and is driven to unify the business community to create an economically thriving and safe Tacoma.