Tacoma businesses demand city council allow more electric fences to stop rampant theft

“I’ve had zero calls, not a single break-in since the fence has been installed, I haven’t been woken up at night, and not one person on the property illegally.”

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Businesses in Tacoma, Washington are looking into installing electric fences to prevent thefts that have resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars. Now the Tacoma City Council is considering allowing more to be put up. 

Currently, Tacoma only allows electric fences to be installed in industrial areas, but the council is considering changing the code to allow more businesses to do the same. If a new measure is adopted by the city council, electric fences could be installed in some mixed-use, commercial and downtown districts.

Alexx Bacon of Aaberg’s Tool & Equipment Rentals told KOMO News, “We had cameras all over, a monitoring service, Ring cameras, we had motion detectors, we had everything you could have. We started having multiple break-ins almost every other night to the point where once a week I was being woken up at night with the cameras saying someone’s in your yard.”

None of it worked until he installed the electric fence. He told the outlet, “I’ve had zero calls, not a single break-in since the fence has been installed, I haven’t been woken up at night, and not one person on the property illegally.”

Nearby businesses followed suit and curbed their losses as well. Over the last 18 months, the number of electric fences in the area has gone from 8 to 25.

But now the Tacoma Planning Commission has recommended that the city council deny the measure to expand where businesses can install electric fences without getting a permit variance, stating they "could not conclude that the proposal was in the public's interest."

2022 was the deadliest year on record for Tacoma.

According to a recent report, Tacoma’s total crime rate is 109.9 percent higher than elsewhere in Washington state and 170.7 percent higher than the rest of the US.

The city’s violent crime rate is 187 percent higher than the state’s rate and 117.4 percent higher than the rest of the country, with property crime 101.5 percent higher than Washington and 181.2 higher than the country.

Last year, to combat the crime and squalor, the city council passed a ban on camping or public property within 10 blocks of the city’s temporary shelters and authorized encampment sweeps.

A final decision on the measure from the council is expected in August.

According to a new report, violent crime in Washington increased by 8.9 percent in 2022, with robberies increasing by 18 percent and vehicle theft increasing by 34.1 percent.
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