Dear BID Ratepayers, residents and friends of downtown:
On behalf of the officers of the Downtown Spokane Police Precinct, I am writing to provide a report on crime downtown in light of the current situation.
Overall, crime numbers downtown are fairing well. Regarding violent crime, we are overall at a 12% decrease, though we have seen large percentage-increases in robbery, domestic violence and aggravated assault. Large increases are attributed to the volatility of having small comparative data this early in the year. Although we show a 100% increase in commercial robberies, that is due to the comparison of two commercial robberies for 2020 year-to-date (YTD) compared to one for the same time frame in 2019.
We’ve had increases in commercial burglary and vehicle theft, however those spikes came early in the year and we have made a number of significant arrests, which led to an 83% decrease in vehicle thefts. Despite important arrests commercial burglaries are up year-to-date, even in the past 28 days. General larcenies, which include everything from shoplifting to vehicle prowls, have experienced a slight year-to-date increase for the year, of 1.34%, but a decrease of 53% for the past 28 days.
Trend lines show a three-year increase overall in violent crime downtown from about 13 per month to about 19 per month currently, note that 2020 is trending back down each month. Vehicle theft has increased slightly but is fairly stable in the five to six per month range. Commercial burglary has trended up from about two per month to about nine per month currently. That upward trend in commercial burglary is mirrored city-wide.
During the COVID crisis we are focused on being a visible deterrent to crime in downtown to prevent closed businesses from being victimized with burglaries and ensuring a sense of safety. We have increased patrolling in a variety of areas downtown with those goals in mind. Additionally, we have significantly increased our foot patrols for those same reasons, and although we are not engaging in as much enforcement of quality-of-life crimes as we did previously, we are still highly active in contacting violators and requiring them to desist.
Officers are issuing citations for sit/lie or pedestrian interference very rarely. Officers routinely contact violators of those offenses, refer them to services and require them to comply. If that directive is refused, then officers will engage in enforcement. Community Court is temporarily suspended, jail has increased intake restrictions, and Municipal and Superior Courts have similarly cut back on the cases they will prosecute in response to the COVID crisis, which necessitates that we also reduce enforcement. My directive to the Downtown Precinct has been that we will not allow encampments to crop up and remain established during this pandemic. To that end, although the Geiger Corrections crew is not working during COVID, the City’s litter crew and the Clean Team are still working, and we are partnering with them to clear garbage and encampments.
Currently our staffing levels remain the same as before and have not been impacted by COVID.
From an investigative standpoint, we are aggressively focusing on commercial burglary incidents when they occur in order to quickly identify and arrest suspects. Resulting arrests have had a positive impact on our burglary numbers and we will maintain that focus.
We are continuing the process of relocating the Downtown Precinct from the Intermodal Center to our new location on Riverside at Wall, the lease has been signed and construction started last Wednesday, April 8. The target move-in date is still tentatively set for early July.
We thank you for your support for the Downtown Precinct and in how we are enforcing the law under the current conditions. Please contact me or one of the officers of the precinct if you have questions or concerns.
Cpt. Dave Singley
Crime Check: 509.456.2233
Tipline: 509.242.TIPS (8477)
COVID Compliance: 509.477.2684
My Spokane: 311