Vehicle Prowling Arrest as Part of SPD Mission Focus

Julie Humphreys, 509.625.5868

Monday, August 24, 2020 at 3:37 p.m.

On August 20th at approximately 1:30am, an SPD officer was conducting an emphasis patrol in West Central Spokane.  A caller reported suspicious activity in the 2300 block of College Ave. The caller said a female with a pit bull was opening car doors and had a flashlight. The officer responded to the area and observed a female walking away from a red Honda CRV and to a nearby house.

When contacted, the woman, with 2 pit bulls, told the officer her sister lived at the residence and the red Honda belonged to her sister. The woman, later identified as Brandy Burnette (22), stated her dogs were aggressive and she needed to put them away. The officer told Burnette to tie the dogs to a fence, which she did. The woman explained she went to her sister’s car to get a wig for her sister. A check of the license plate found the registered owner was not related to Burnette rather to someone else on the block.

Burnette admitted to the officer that she opened a vehicle door a few blocks away and removed $2.00 worth of coins, then opened a door on the red Honda and took two wigs and more coins. Burnette was cited for Vehicle Prowling – 2nd degree.

The West Central area has experienced a large number of property crimes recently, mostly vehicle prowling of unsecured vehicles parked on the street. As part of SPD’s Mission Focus, the area is currently targeted for increased officer patrol, observation, and contacts with neighbors. There is a direct correlation with increased and longer patrol visits in neighbors and a residential crime deterrent effect. In the week prior to Burnette’s arrest there were 13 reported vehicle prowls in a small area of West Central and 25 total calls for service for property crimes in all of West Central. Since Burnette’s arrest SPD has reports of only 2 vehicle prowls and 7 total property crimes.

The West Central Mission Focus is one of several ongoing SPD missions throughout the city. These proactive missions have been successful in decreasing the number of property crimes including; residential and commercial burglaries, vehicle prowling and vehicle theft, shoplifting, and more, and in increasing the safety of neighborhoods and business zones. The success of this particular West Central mission and others, reinforces the importance of crime reporting. Utilizing crime check or 911 when appropriate, is critical in SPD's deployment of our limited SPD resources. Community members in the West Central Neighborhood utilized our reporting venues which in turn, made this an SPD priority resulting in success. In this case, a neighbor had called in about a woman with two pit bulls attempting to open car doors the week before, so officers were on alert prior to catching her in the act last week.

SPD implemented the mission focus in March of this year. COVID and a series of protests put the Mission Focus on hold for a few months, now SPD is pleased to once again be targeting specific areas of criminal activity with a concentrated police presence and a timeline to apprehend those responsible for crimes. SPD continually works to provide the best possible policing to make Spokane a safe and strong community.

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Julie Humphreys