A new task force began its work on the peninsula in August with the goal to reduce and prevent crime in the neighborhoods. The Key Peninsula Crime Prevention Task Force, organized by Dennis Taylor of Safe Streets and Judi Holley of the county’s Neighborhood Action Team, includes community leaders and members of neighborhood groups, businesses and agencies: the county health department, the school district, state Department of Corrections, Citizens Patrol, I.M.Pact domestic violence program, fire district, community council, associations, Community Services, county code enforcement and many others.
“Reducing and preventing crime is not just the responsibility of law enforcement, but everyone’s,” Taylor said at the first meeting.
Taylor is a community mobilization specialist for Safe Streets, which focuses on crime and safety in communities. He said part of his job is organizing the communities and building a network because areas that have civic involvement have reduced crime. A group of creative thinkers working together on a strategy can brainstorm ideas and create a strategy to address safety issues, he said.
The Key Peninsula’s remote nature along with limited law enforcement could be a hotbed for criminal activity, and several neighborhoods have been in fact identified as “hot spots,” including the Horseshoe Lake Estates and Lake of the Woods, based on the number of reported incidents. But not all residents report crime because in many instances response time is very long — which means part of the hot spots statistics could be due to the fact that some neighborhoods are more alert and organized.
A community needs assessment survey recently conducted by the KP Community Council identified crime as one of the top concerns for residents, Taylor said, and one of the goals of the task force will be to work together with the council. The task force will focus on methamphetamine-related issues as well as brainstorm aspects such as targeted law enforcement, block watch, education, illegal dumping, access to vacant land. It will also discuss deputy patrolling and block groups among other topics.
“We all deserve a safe place to live,” Holley said. “They say it takes a village — it takes everyone pulling together… There is a role for everyone.”
If you would like to report a crime but fear retaliation and would like to stay anonymous, call Judy Holley with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Neighborhood Action Team at 798-3624.