SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane Police are changing the way they track crime.
Officials said the new system will be more detailed. For example, if someone robs a store and assaults someone on their way out the old system would count this as one robbery. Under the new reporting system, it would be counted as one robbery and one assault. Police said that is why the new system could make it look like crime numbers are going up.
KREM 2’s Lindsay Nadrich spoke to Northeast Precinct Captain Dave Richards to find out how this will impact you.
Lindsay Nadrich: Why should people care that crime statistics are being tracked differently?
Captain Dave Richards: I think the main thing is because they're real specific. The incidents that come in that are reported to us have specific details as far as what occurred like a burglary, residential burglary, versus like a garage or commercial, that makes a difference in how we respond.
LN: As it stands now, you guys do identify hot spots and send officers to a neighborhood, is that going to make this more efficient? Are you going to be able to better target problem areas?
DR: I think so. The crime is still occurring in the neighborhoods and we're still getting the information we need. But, I think this is going to allow us to respond more immediate, the hot spots might even be more detailed. In other words, it will be a tighter hot spot, so we can maybe nail down the crime to say a five block, square block area rather than a 12, makes a difference where the officers go.
LN: How does it impact, you know, a neighborhood like this? If I live in this neighborhood, I want to know what's going on, am I going to get this information faster?
DR: You should be able to. The reports that we have online now for the City, for the police department, those reports are still going to be there, but maybe in a different format and they may get them quicker and more understandable. And so when you look online and see where the problem is then you're probably going to expect to see law enforcement. So you'll understand why law enforcement is there.
LN: So, if I live in a neighborhood and I'm concerned, I want to know what's going on, this is going to give me maybe a real time look at crime that's happening?
DR: That is the plan, that's the plan and even, you can't get away from the benefit of that person to person contact. So if the system, the website isn't giving you the information, you do have neighborhood resource officers that are available and so if you have a question you can ask them. Myself and my counterpart captain on the north side and Downtown, we all go to our neighborhood council meetings and so we're there available to the public. And so, with all those players that are trying to make a difference in the neighborhood, the neighbors should understand it and be part of the solution and helping us out because they live in the neighborhood they can call us and tell us what's going on.
The new crime maps will be available in the next 14 days. They are also being used by the Spokane Valley Police and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.