Here are the top news stories about SPD, Spokane crime rates, significant arrests, and more.
There are few things worse than having your belongings stolen from you. Aside from the fact that our belongings are physical manifestations of all of our hard work and sweat that we put into this world, often belongings have strong sentimental value as well – the lawnmower your mom gave you when you bought your first house or the tools you inherited from your dad. Whatever it may be, property crimes are so much more than the simple value of the items that were stolen or the damage that was done to our property. Our neighborhoods don’t feel as safe and it can severely affect our quality of life. It can too easily feel like property crimes are just a fact of life for us and that we need to give up and accept it. But it doesn’t need to be that way , and it certainly doesn’t mean we need to resign ourselves to watching our property get stolen while we sit idly by. As citizens, there are a myriad of things we can do to help get this situation under control and protect ourselves. And your neighborhood C.O.P.S. shop is here to help.
The first thing you can do to stay safe is get a Block Watch going. That’s because one of the single most important crime deterrents is getting to know your neighbors . Period. When we work as a community and look out for each other, we make it considerably harder for criminals to cause trouble. When you know your neighbors, when you know their schedules, when you have a strong relationship with your block and when your street is full of people looking out for one another, you can drastically reduce your risk of crime. If there was a strange car at your neighbor’s house, for instance, would you notice it? And even if you did, do you have your neighbor’s phone number and are you close enough that you would call them and check in to see if they were expecting company? If you saw a person walking on your street, do you know your neighbors well enough to know if this person lives a few houses down or if this person doesn’t live there at all? These are the things neighbors need to do. That’s what makes us a community, and strong communities are safe communities. Your C.O.P.S. shop can help you work to start a block watch and get your neighbors together. It’s not hard! It just needs someone to want to make it happen. We will even happily come out and talk to your group about safety tips, products, and any other number of things that will help you to stay safe.
Keeping your neighborhood neat and tidy is another thing you can do to stay safe. The Broken Windows Theory is the idea that criminals are attracted - at either the conscious or subconscious level - to areas that look unkempt and run down. Broken windows attract crime. So do overgrown lawns, broken down cars parked in yards, graffiti, and garbage strewn across yards. Things like that tell criminals that no one cares, and that anything goes in that area. Contrarily, neighborhoods that are neat, clean, and tidy tell criminals that people care in this area, and that they better try their shenanigans somewhere else. Your neighborhood COPS shop can help you report code enforcement violations such as these to the Spokane Code Enforcement team.
Other things you can do to minimize your risk of property crime are:
- Keep things of value locked up. Even walking away and leaving something unattended for a few minutes can attract thievery.
- Keep your garage door closed
- Make sure your house is well-lit at night.
- Keep shrubbery trimmed, and not overgrown. Overgrown bushes and trees provide great hiding spots for criminals.
- Make sure your front door has a working deadbolt
- Ensure all windows and sliding doors have dowels or other device to keep from being forced open
- Let your neighbors know when you go on vacation, but no one else. Don’t put it on social media that you aren’t home.
- Stop by your local COPS shop to borrow an engraver (free of charge) and engrave your personal belongings so if they get stolen, police can return them to you.
- Bring your bicycles in to your neighborhood COPS shop for registration.
- Make sure all exterior doors on your house are solid core doors
For any of these physical features to your house or landscape, you can come in to your neighborhood C.O.P.S. shop and request a CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) evaluation. We’ll have a CPTED-trained volunteer come and look at your house and property with a check list of things to go through that can help minimize your risk of crime.
And don’t forget, you can also go into any C.O.P.S. shop and request a Neighborhood Observation Patrol (NOP). Our volunteers are trained by the Spokane Police Department, and our NOP patrols are always out and about, observing and reporting to help keep you safe. We can patrol your neighborhood to help keep your area crime free.
So, stop by your local C.O.P.S. shop and talk to us about things you can do to stay safe. And get involved! Crime is a community problem and it takes a community to solve it. We’re here to help, so volunteer with us!
Having your car broken into is no fun! You lose your belongings, have to pay for a new window or broken lock, deal with insurance, clean up broken glass, and the headache and time that come with dealing with those issues. And, of course, you lose your sense of safety.
So what can you do about vehicle prowlings ?
First , if you are a victim, call Crime Check (456-2233) and report it. Note the incident number, which you will give to your insurance company if you are making a claim. While you are talking to Crime Check, request a fingerprint lift . That’s where your neighborhood C.O.P.S. shop comes in. We have trained volunteers who will attempt a fingerprint lift and get the prints to forensics to help catch the person who did it.
To avoid becoming a victim in the first place, please consider these:
- Remove anything of value from your car. If possible, don’t just hide it, but actually take it with you. Thieves are looking for items they can sell, so don’t give them that opportunity. Cell phones, laptops, mp3 players, all of those things just invite a thief to break into your car. Get in the habit of looking around every time you leave your car to make sure you didn’t accidentally leave something in sight.
- Remove anything that appears to have value. Things like duffel bags or laptop bags invite thieves. Sure, you knew that laptop bag held just your dog’s veterinary papers in it, but a thief figured it had an expensive laptop . Anything that even seems like it could have value puts you at risk. Even a plastic bag you use for trash could tempt a thief!
- Lock your doors. Often, people will leave doors unlocked as they figure if a thief is going to break in anyhow, it’s better to let them in so no damage is done to the car. But remember: a person opening a door and getting in does not attract attention or get noticed. A person breaking a window does, should someone see it.
- When possible, park in areas that are highly visible and well-lit. You are more likely to get broken into if a thief is aware that no one can see them.
Finally , make use of your local C.O.P.S. shop . If you are seeing a lot of break-ins, let us know. You can request a Neighborhood Observation Patrol (NOP) that will help patrol your area, and we can help you set up a Block Watch or Business Watch as well to minimize your risk.
Always remember that there are actions you can take to minimize your risk of crime. And that’s what we’re here for. Get in touch with us, and consider volunteering at your neighborhood C.O.P.S. shop!
Block Watch is one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear. Block Watch fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. It forges bonds among residents, helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves relations between the police and the communities they serve.
Today, community oriented policing allows the C.O.P.S. shops, police and residents to work together to solve issues involving crime and social concerns in their community. Block Watches are one of the original foundations of community policing and are referred to as the eyes and ears of law enforcement. Members look out for neighbors and their property and report suspicious activities to the police.
However, Block Watches are more than looking out for suspicious activity in neighborhoods. Through community mobilization, citizens form an active partnership in the community. Watches allow individuals the opportunity to discover common interests and goals that they share with their neighbors. The residents work to prevent the possibility of crime in their area and develop a sense of community spirit that encourages more activism.
The Benefits of Forming an Active Block Watch
· Having the fast track to reporting crime and unsafe conditions.
· Notifications about crime trends and scams in your neighborhood.
· Being a part of community crime prevention.
· Education on how to protect yourself and your property.
· Having the means to stop crime in your neighborhood.
How to Start a Block Watch
If you are interested in starting a Block Watch in your neighborhood, contact your nearest C.O.P.S. shop or the Spokane C.O.P.S. main office at 509-625-3301.
Have you given any thought to the steps you can take to minimize your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud before the busyness takes over?
From crime rates to code enforcement reporting, the city offers a variety of resources for citizens to utilize. Below are some helpful resources to check out.
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