A lot of people in Yakima, Washington, are a bit of a bit-of-an-eye-operer.
The city’s metro area, which includes the largest concentration of U.S. military personnel in the country, is home to more than 100,000 people and sits just a few miles from where President Donald Trump announced a border wall with Mexico.
But in an attempt to combat the city’s notorious high crime rate, a group of local activists and residents set up a new hotline for residents to report crimes.
The hotline, which was first reported by CBC News in February, has since been expanded to include an additional 20 police stations in Yakimas city limits.
It’s a project that’s seen some backlash.
It’s been labeled “anti-police” by one local resident, who said the idea of having police officers reporting crimes is “a bit scary.”
In a statement, Yakima Mayor Tim Leitch says the city is committed to protecting the safety and welfare of our citizens.
He says that if anyone is being harassed or threatened, he or she should report it to police.
“This is a way for our citizens to get involved, and we know this can be effective,” he said.
A lot of our neighbors are very concerned, said Michael Sorensen, a local police officer.
“I have people that are concerned, and I know they’ve got some real concerns about it.”
Leitch says that the Yakima Police Department has received about 500 calls since the program began.
In addition to police officers, the program has trained about 100 volunteers.
Sorensensen says the program was started to “create a dialogue between residents and police officers,” but he says it has been “a positive experience for everyone involved.”
Sorenesensen said that the number of calls to the hotline has dropped, and that some of the residents he’s talked to have been very supportive of the initiative.
The city’s mayor says he’s glad the program is working, because he hopes the city will have to spend more time on dealing with violent crime.