The new Tacoma police chief will unveil his plan to reduce crime at the city council’s study session at noon Tuesday, one week after a deadly shooting of a 14-year-old girl.
Avery Moore, who was appointed the city’s police chief in December, said the goal of the Tacoma Police Department Crime Reduction Plan is to engage the community in a way that wants to be policed and reduce the number of victims of violent crime.
“They don’t want to be policed with stopping everyone that moves, because that’s harassment,” Moore said on Inside Tacoma last month. “They don’t want to be dragnet when you take everyone in just because. They really want you to be there to help them and feel like you care.”
The plan has three phases. The first phase includes “hot-spot” policing, which already has softly rolled out to neighborhoods in Tacoma. The method deploys police officers to areas of high crime during peak times crimes are committed. Moore said crime is isolated to meta-locations and committed by a small portion of that population.
Officers will have high visibility. For 15 minutes every hour, the police officers will illuminate their cars. Officers will also engage with the public by asking how they can help them feel more safe that night. Hot-spot policing with high visibility has already seen success, Moore said during the Inside Tacoma segment. He said the city had a large reduction in property crime in May and June, with a decrease of 241 victims. There was also a decrease in violent crime, he said.
The police department will evaluate phase one throughout the remainder of 2022 and make adjustments if needed.
The second phase is place-based improvements. The police department will engage with local and state partnerships to focus on violent offenders. It will be deployed four to six months after phase one is implemented. With partnerships through agencies, like the Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI, the police department will determine where violent offenders are located and where they are planning their criminal activity.
The third phase is focused deterrence, in which the police will be going into the community to create partnerships. One of Moore’s goals is to start a first offender program for youth.
“I don’t believe a person that is young and doesn’t have the mental capacity of what they are doing and what that will lead to should actually destroy their life,” he said. “There’s opportunities based on the severity of crime that we can give them to point them in another direction to provide them with another resource.”
The police will also work on blight and disorder abatement by adding more lighting and fencing to make residents and business owners feel more safe.
Moore said other police departments have found success with these phases, but it is rare to combine these efforts simultaneously.
Crime is a community issue and Moore said he wants to include the community in the city’s policing.
“Crime is absolutely everybody’s business. Everybody’s,” he said. “And if we’re really going to make Tacoma safe, my goal is that it is the safest city in the country. I’m realistic and honest. I can’t do it by myself.”
The crime reduction plan does not need city council’s approval unless there are budgetary asks.
Moore received help from criminologists from the University of Texas to study Tacoma’s crime data and develop the plan.
This story was originally published July 9, 2022 5:00 AM.