Pullman ranked in top 20 safest cities in state

City ranked 14th, about 0.7 percent violent crime rate per 1,000 people



Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins says as Pullman continues to grow, he expects the rate of crime to increase. Jenkins says larceny remains to be the category of crimes that occurs the most in Pullman.

LAUREN ELLENBECKER, Evergreen reporter

Pullman was ranked among the top safest cities in Washington in a report by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.

The National Council for Home Safety and Security evaluated the total number of crimes from each city in Washington and rated them by the population of the city and its crime rates. Pullman is ranked as the 14th safest city in Washington with about a 0.7 percent violent crime rate and about a 15.2 percent property crime rate per 1,000 people.

Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said the police department sends crime reports to the state and federal government, which is categorized into three areas: persons, property and society crimes.

Violent crime is composed of murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault, according to the website. It said property crime includes burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson.

“We feel proud to be in [the top-20] category,” Jenkins said.

He said the two main qualities that make Pullman safe are its geographical location and sense of community. Jenkins said because Pullman is set apart from other cities, there are not many factors that attract crime.

“The people that are in Pullman [have] an interest in what happens where they live and work,” he said.

Jenkins said forcible sex offenses have decreased from 2017, and the most common crime in Pullman is larceny.

Jenkins said the police department can make Pullman safer by providing their staff with tools to help them do jobs more efficiently. He said Pullman residents can contribute to the town’s safety by following the national initiative, “If you see something, say something.”

Pullman’s population is growing about 2 percent per year, Jenkins said, and law enforcement must be aware and prepared for potential growth of crime rates.

“It’s important for us to stay ahead of the curve and address those issues quickly,” he said. “We don’t want to see our crime increase like it does in other cities.”

Jenkins said law enforcement needs to keep up with staffing demands in order to be prepared for the future. The Pullman Police Department is authorized to have 33 officers, he said, and the department wants to add three to four officers within the next few years.

Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson said there is difficulty in finding new officers. He said it takes up to 14 months to look at applicants’ background and go through academy training.

Johnson said one of his legislative goals is to increase the number of police academies in Eastern Washington so more people can attend. He said community members should contribute to making Pullman safer and remain diligent about reporting crime.

“If you see something that is wrong, you should report it … that’s how you prevent crime,” Johnson said. “It’s a two-way street.”