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Auburn loses $78,000 violent crime subsidy; City Hall giddy about it

Pete Lewis - Reporter file photo
Pete Lewis
— image credit: Reporter file photo

Auburn's violent crime rate and its crime rate per thousand have been dropping for some time.

Indeed, both measures have sunk so low that by now, as the City's Finance Department learned last Wednesday, the City no longer qualifies for a yearly policing subsidy from the state of Washington of as much as $78,000.

Indeed, figures extracted from the Washington Association of Sheriff's Report show Auburn's crime rate has dipped below that of neighboring cities.

"I am very pleased that the crime rate per thousand is lower than the City of Sumner, let alone Federal Way and Kent," said Mayor Pete Lewis. "This is one of those things where you're proud to lose money. Take a look, we almost fell off the page altogether."

The City has used the funds, in part, to support the activities of its Community Response Team (CRT). The Auburn Police Department posts this team to problem-plagued neighborhoods where it stays until whatever the issue was has been solved.

"We've got all the evidence in the world that they work," Lewis said of CRT. "What really made the difference is we have invested 4½ years in meeting with the public in these meetings in neighborhoods where Block Watch's have been set up that can interact with those teams. That made it work: connecting neighborhoods and those community response teams. When you get down to it, it has been the whole city working through its neighbors that has improved the crime rate."

CRT has more than proven its worth, Lewis added – and subsidy or no subsidy, it's going to continue. The City will find the funds elsewhere in the budget.

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