Car prowlings are an epidemic in Spokane for a myriad of reasons. It seems like nearly all of us at some point has either been a victim of car prowling or knows someone who was, and many Spokane residents are understandably concerned about this trend. While law enforcement officers are doing all they can to combat this, there are number of steps you can take to help protect your car against prowlers.
Park in a well-lit area . Thieves are less likely to break into a car if they know they can be seen. Avoid parking in dark areas as much as possible. If you park outside your house, invest in a good lighting system to keep the area lit at night.
Park in a public area . When you have the choice between different areas, pick a spot closest to a busy road or near a lot of people. The goal of thieves is to not be noticed, so they aren’t as likely to target a car where others can see them.
Take all valuables inside . We’re always in a hurry, and the temptation can be to leave cell phones, wallets, mp3 players, etc., in the car. All this does is attract thieves. Most thieves are opportunists, looking for an easy steal. Don’t give them that opportunity! If there is nothing of value in your car, thieves are more likely to move on to someone else. And remember, your concern isn’t as much what IS valuable, as what COULD BE valuable to a thief - you might know that the laptop case or gym bag in your car are empty, but a thief doesn’t.
Get a car alarm installed. Car alarms are relatively inexpensive, and they can be a deterrent in thwarting criminals. Alarms that have the blinking red light on the dash are preferred since a thief can see the car has an alarm before breaking in, but even an alarm without that warning is still helpful.
Make sure you lock your doors . Many thieves will walk past a line of cars, and subtly pull on each door handle until they find an unlocked door. Those thieves aren’t looking at the type of car of what might be inside, they’re just looking for an unlocked door that will make their job easier. So get in the habit of always locking your car, even if you are just stepping away for a short time.
Keep your garage door opener with you , especially if your car is in your driveway. Thieves will often break in a car in front of a house where a garage door opener is visible. They’re hoping it will open the garage door right in front of them and give them access to your house.
Remember, not only do car break-ins deprive you of your belongings, but you put yourself at risk for identity theft if you are keeping your wallet or any type of i.d. in your car. While you can’t stop car break-ins entirely, following the steps above will help minimize your chances of being broken into.
And remember, if you do find your car broken into, call Crime Check immediately at 509-456-2233. Request to have your car lifted for prints, and Crime Check will put your local C.O.P.S. shop in touch with you to make that happen.
We all want to live in communities and neighborhoods that are safe. Communities that are connected and watch out for each other are the greatest resource to fight crime, and protect each other from harm and property damage. Everyone can be a community watchdog by simply watching your neighborhood for things that seem out of place, keeping an eye out for signs of abuse or other unsafe behavior, and reporting anything that seems suspicious. We've compiled a list of resources to show you what you what to watch for and what resources are available to protect your neighborhood.
Elder abuse: It is everyone's job to protect our most vulnerable, including our elderly. Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has a number of resources to help elders in our community. Click Here to get information on reporting abuse to Adult Protective Services as well as resources for housing, long term care and more.
Child abuse: We should also watch and protect children in our community. DSHS also handles allegations of child abuse. Click here to get all the information on where to report suspicions of child abuse and get other resources. Remember, DSHS will investigate to see if actual abuse has taken place, so you should report any suspicions and let DSHS make the determination.
Graffiti: The City of Spokane offers an online tool to report graffiti that has worked in reducing incidents. Click here to find out more and get a link to their tool.
Child in a hot car: There are far too many stories of children dying or being seriously injured being left in a hot car, Click Here to get information on what you can do, and what protections you have for being a "Good Samaritan"
Report unsafe driver: If you suspect someone can no longer operate a car safely you can file a report with the Department of Licensing. Click Here for information on unsafe drivers and how to file a report.
Drunk driver: If you see a car or other vehicle that you suspect may have a drunk driver, don't engage them directly, Click Here to get information on what you can do to keep your streets safe.
Abandoned Vehicles: Vehicles left on our streets can be really annoying, but they can also be indications of crimes or other dangerous activity. Click Here to get information on what to look for with an abandoned car and where you can report it to resolve the issue.
Potholes: Potholes make your neighborhood streets an eyesore, but can also do damage to you and your neighbors' vehicles. Click Here to find out how you can report potholes and make your streets more accessible and safer.
Crime Tipline: Think you've seen a crime? Have information that could help police? No matter how hard they work police can't be everywhere, if you hear information or see evidence of a crime you can help police solve crimes and make the city, and your neighborhood safer. Click Here to find out how.
Property Drop Off: Having your stolen is really frustrating and awful. Help out your neighbors and police by returning property that you think might be stolen and letting police and other volunteers work to return the property. Click Here for information on where you can return items.
Join a Neighborhood Observation Patrol (NOP): If you really want to neighborhood safer why not be trained by Spokane Police on how to do it? Joining a NOP you'll know the best ways to work with police to reduce crime and keep yourself and your neighbors safe. Click Here to find out how to join a NOP.
Code Enforcement Program: Crime isn't the only thing that can affect our neighborhoods negatively. Graffiti, overgrown weeds, excessive trash and other issues can be real problems for our neighborhoods. Click Here to find out what a violation is, and how you can report it to improve your neighborhood and make life a little bit better for you and your neighbors.
Better communities begin with all of us doing our part. Armed with these resources you can be a community watchdog and help your neighborhood work together and be a safer and better place to live. Stronger neighborhoods make a safer, stronger city.
C.O.P.S. is here with Safe Streets! Safe Streets is a step-by-step approach,
channeling all your frustrations into a plan of action utilizing civil courts.
Since nuisance houses are defined in the city municipal code, you can
effectively take the owner of the house (whether they live there or the house is
a rental property) to court for violating this ordinance. A judgment against the
owner results in fines paid to affected neighbors.
Streets is a community action guide for the city and county of Spokane that
includes community policing tools for helping make your neighborhood safe and
nuisance free. Safe Streets motivates individuals to participate at the most
fundamental level of the democratic process to create a community that reflects
the standards and moral of the residents. It also teaches the community how to
maintain those standards. Safe Streets will show you how to recognize nuisance
house danger signs, organize your block, form a team with police and possible
city officials, document a public nuisance, research property ownership, and
deal with the cooperative and uncooperative property owners. Safe Streets
empowers citizens to create a nuisance-free neighborhood that is a safe, clean,
and a healthy environment for individuals and families.
Streets can be a much faster way to get results than other options. Oftentimes,
even repeated visits by the police is not enough to change behavior. But by
facing legal action and potentially large fines for failure to act, owners often
deal with the problem immediately as that is preferable to going to court. The Safe Street program has been implemented over 450 times with successful
Here are the top news stories about SPD, Spokane crime rates, significant arrests, and more.
Over 7,000 cases of personal property theft have been recorded so far this year (up 4.5% from this time last year). In many of these cases, Spokane police officers are able to recover the stolen property...with no way of identifying the owner. When they can’t find the owner, the items eventually go to auction to free up much needed space in the police evidence facility. This raises an important question-if your property is stolen and recovered by police, would you be able to prove it’s yours?
That’s where Operation ID comes into play. The idea is to mark your valuable possessions with an identifying number (like your driver’s license number). Engraving a number helps deter theft since it’s harder to sell an ID-ed item to a pawn shop. If the item is stolen, the identifying number helps you prove ownership of the item to the police.
Operation ID also involves creating an inventory of the make and model of all ID-ed items, which you then put in a secure place. In the event of theft, fire damage, or other incident where you need to make a claim to your insurance company for item replacement, your information is ready for the insurance company.
Operation ID is a free service that only takes a few minutes. Bring your valuables to your local C.O.P.S. shop to borrow an engraver and pick up an inventory log.
Another property identification program is SpokaneBikeID.org , a city wide bike registration database. The information uploaded during registration is used by police to connect a recovered bike to its rightful owner. You can bring your bike by your local C.O.P.S. shop and our volunteers will register it for you (and you can get a free child’s helmet while supplies last).For more crime prevention information, check out our Facebook , Twitter , Linkedin , and Pinterest .
Here are the top news stories about SPD, Spokane crime rates, significant arrests, and more.