Jeff Humphrey

Property Crimes Dropping in Spokane

Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308

Friday, August 10, 2018 at 2:07 p.m.

Some good new being announced at Spokane Police Department roll calls; officers are hearing their hard work is driving down the number of property crimes.

“The most common complaint we hear from citizens is property crimes. Most people in our city are hard-working individuals and this affects them. The more we hire more police officers, the more we’re going to see this crime decrease,” said City Council President Ben Stuckart.

According to the police department’s most recent CompStat report, residential burglaries dropped 13 percent from this time last year. Commercial burglaries are down 10 percent.

“And I think what you’re also seeing is that we’re having officers who are being able to respond to in-progress calls more quickly because we do have more officers as well. So we’re catching them in the act,” explained Chief Craig Meidl.

Having more officers also allows patrolmen be more proactive.

While you’re at work, cops like Corporal Ron Van Tassel are on the lookout for suspicious activity in your neighborhood.

“Driving though the area, making contacts and stopping people who are acting suspiciously or in the middle of the night when people are sleeping, our officers are out there stopping these people,” Meidl said.

For example, Van Tassel recently pulled over a man riding a bike while cradling a flat screen TV under his arm. The former felon explained he had found the TV by a dumpster.

Van Tassel ran the serial number on the TV and found it had not been reported stolen, so the man was allowed to pedal off.

“When we run across that property in the middle of the night or the middle of the day we can use those numbers to say this was stolen in this burglary,” Meidl said of serial numbers.

Police say recording the serial numbers of your valuables can not only help you get your property back, but also help send a burglar to prison.

“If we can use those serial numbers to prove this property was stolen in a crime and we can trace it back to what that crime was through those serial numbers, that actually gives us probable cause to charge these folks with having stolen property,” Meidl added.

Corporal Van Tassel also recently responded to a burglary where the thieves broke into a home by pushing out the window-mounted air conditioner.

“If you stuck a wooden dowel inside of your house on the top of this window ledge here and wedged it up, the bad guys could not lift the window high enough to get in,” Van Tassel explained to the victim.

Nancy does not expect to get her property back but her burglary report will be handed over to crime analysts who will determine if her neighborhood needs a bigger police presence.

“We will use what people are telling us through Crime Check, through calling in property crimes. We will use that data to send in our resources to start really focusing on that area,” Meidl said.

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