The Property Crimes and Animal Cruelty Unit prosecutes felony property crimes and animal cruelty cases. Property crimes include residential burglaries, business burglaries, forgeries, employee embezzlements, identity thefts, metal thefts and felony thefts. The Property Crimes Unit has one grant funded deputy prosecuting attorney working as part of the Greater Puget Sound Financial Fraud and ID Theft Task Force. The unit handles more than 2,000 felony cases per year.
Due to a collaborative effort between the Tacoma Police Department and the Prosecutor's Office, the burglary rate in Tacoma was down 22% in 2015 and 4.1% in 2016. One way we're tracking down burglars is by testing DNA collected from some burglary scenes. In the past, DNA testing was expensive and reserved for violent crimes such as murder and rape. Decreased costs, combined with a federal grant, now make this possible for some property crimes.
The Pierce County Council voted unanimously to fund a Sheriff’s Department Proactive Property Crimes Unit in 2016. The Prosecutor’s Office also received funds for prosecuting the additional cases that will arise. Our office is collaborating with this new unit to lower the number of burglaries and increase the percentage of reports that are investigated.