QUESTION: Should University Place do more to curb crime in the Orchard Street/Hannah Pierce Road area?
One of University Place's busiest spots for criminal activity is its confluence with two other cities at the southeast corner of town.
The Orchard Street corridor, including the Hanna Pierce Road West area, has kept University Place Police plenty busy the last few years. With a population of about 2,600 people, it boasts numerous apartment complexes and multi-family housing units.
On May 28, police responded to a report of gunshots at an apartment complex. No one was hurt or injured, but authorities determined that 30 rounds had been fired.
The incident marked one of many calls that University Place Police have responded to in the Orchard Street corridor the last four years.
Since 2009, University Place Police have responded to 9,223 calls for service in the area between the 4800 block and 6800 block of Orchard and the surrounding area.
During that same time, authorities produced 1,929 criminal offense reports.
Compared to other heavily populated areas of UP, the Orchard Street/Hannah Pierce Road area is plagued with illegal activity, according to Sgt. Mike Blair.
For instance, authorities collected data from the area between 19th and 27th Streets West, and Bridgeport Way and Mildred Street West. That area has some 4,900 people and also boasts multi-family housing.
Since 2009, that area had less than half the calls and criminal reports as Orchard Street/Hannah Pierce Road.
Blair says the numbers don't lie.
"Basing it on the numbers, it's one-half the population with twice the amount of crime," he told Patch last week.
There's another disturbing trend with the Orchard Street area: the majority of people committing crime aren't even from University Place. Authorities arrested 455 people for whom they located a city of residence since 2009, and two-thirds were from outside UP.
"What we're trying to affect is the people who don't even live here and commit here," he said.
Blair said it isn't a matter of apartment and property owners not working with police either. Many now actively work with authorities and try to educate their residents.
He said one apartment complex owner hired off-duty deputies to patrol the units for 160 hours a month. Since June, authorities have made 212 contacts and 57 arrests, he said.
And UP won of a multi-agency, $25,000 grant to conduct emphasis on specific types of crimes in the area.
But the question Blair and other city will have to answer is whether it's enough, as the Orchard Street/Hannah Pierce Road area continues to have problems with violence and drugs.
Blair didn't reveal what, if any, formal plans he has for curbing crime in the area.
"We're working on future proactive measures to further ensure citizens down there are protected," he said.
So we ask you, University Place. Should the city take extra steps to curb crime in the Orchard Street/Hannah Pierce Road area? Take our poll and talk about it in the comments section.