Pierce County residents fight back with 'March Against Crime'
TACOMA, Wash. -- Tacoma and Pierce County residents who are eager to take back the streets took place in Friday's March Against Crime to show they're fed up with criminals.
Participant say they stood out on street corners waving signs to say "enough is enough. We're going to band together to help the police get rid of crime."
It was part of a whole day of crime-fighting events that included the "Wheels up, Guns Down" celebration at the Star Center. Police mingled with community members young and old to make a connection so that everyone is involved in the fight against crime.
"As a way to kind of curb and abate violence and standing firm to send this message of promoting peace within the community and our message as it says on our shirts 'Put the guns down,'" said Event organizer Vincent Vaielua.
A report from the Property Crimes Reduction Task Force says Tacoma had the highest rate of property crime among several Western Washington cities, including Seattle, in 2014. Roughly 21,000 property crimes were reported each of the last three years.
That blue ribbon panel this week called for more police, but also called for more community involvement with neighbors keeping an eye on neighbors.
"I don't believe we need to have a cop on every corner. I believe can get community members to take action. Stand up, stand out on the street and make a change," said Safe Streets executive director Priscilla Lisicich.
People in every neighborhood have been encouraged to take part in the march. Tacoma resident Jamie Palamidy, her daughter Keely and neighbor Kathy Herrmann are participating.
"We want to make a difference because everyone is getting ripped off and we just want it to stop. It's slowed down, yes," Palamidy said.
They say their neighborhood crime watch efforts through Safe Streets are paying off.
"A lot of things seem to be improving. One of which is we're getting to know our neighbors," Herrmann said.
"A lot of bad things are going on and it's slowed down quite a bit or it's been eliminated. Pretty good," added Keely Ballintine.
The march used to be one big stroll down Pacific. Now it's split into 25 different locations which are closer to each neighborhood.
Northwest Spay & Neuter Clinic operator Melanie Rushforth hosted one of the sites.
"This is a safe place and the more people we can get gathering in it the more people will realize Tacoma is no place to be afraid of," she said.