Residents in Arlington have seen a reduction in crime over the past year.
According to Arlington Police Chief Jonathan Ventura, the city has seen 40 percent reduction in the reported vehicle thefts, 38 percent reduction in robberies, along with smaller reductions in burglaries, malicious mischief, shoplifting and DUIs.
"Overall, there' are some real positives, but there are also areas we can work on," Ventura said. He noted the numbers of sexual assault reports have gone up considerably in 2018, which he cited is a result of the MeToo movement. He said that the investigations unit has seen a 75 percent increase in reports. Nearby jurisdictions are also seeing similar increases in reports of sexual assaults. In addition, the city has seen a 4 percent increase in domestic violence cases. To help improve the situation, the Arlington Police Department in 2019 will hire a domestic violence coordinator. That coordinator will serve as a liaison between domestic violence victims, prosecution services and law enforcement.
The Arlington Police Department has increased in size in 2018, filling longtime open positions, Ventura said.
"Washington state has the least number of law enforcement per capita in the nation," Ventura said.
Five new officers joined the department in 2018, bringing the number of commissioned officers to 27 and Ventura said he hopes to hire two more officers in 2019.
Ventura said, "2018 was a good rebuilding year for us."
The additional officers allow for flexibility that will help lower the crime rate as officers can venture into the community talking to folks and visiting people.
The Arlington Police Department also added a law enforcement embedded social worker. Teaming with a police officer, they visit homeless camps within city limits and try to get people into programs that will get them off the streets.
"Their numbers are phenomenal," Ventura said. The social worker program is the same the Marysville Police Department instituted in 2018 and is currently operating in several jurisdictions throughout Snohomish County.
In 2019, the Arlington Police Department is looking to re-establish its anti-crime team, which will focus on problem, nuisance houses in Arlington.
The police department also has a School Resource Officer based in the Arlington School District who responds to all calls that take place within the schools. The school district pays the officer's salary during the school year.
The department also has two K9 officers and a group of 15 or so volunteers. The volunteers conduct school visits, patrols neighborhoods to help deter package theft, register bicycles and help with National Night Out. Ventura said several volunteers also help the department compile statistical data for the department.
Ventura added the police department has developed a strategic plan with 36 focus areas, with the highest priorities being filling open positions, adding the domestic violence coordinator, form the proactive anti-crime team and continue the department's emphasis on community policing.