SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane Police Department said it plans to ramp up patrols at several huge events in the wake of two shootings in five days Downtown.
Police officials said they want to assure the public that shootings like the one at the Lion’s Lair pub Thursday are isolated incidents. Authorities said the numbers show things are actually getting safer in the heart of the city.
MORE: Arrest made in Lion’s Lair pub shooting
Robert Hetnar, the owner of Spokane Dogs, said he’s not just a hot dog vendor, he's a watchman of sorts for the businesses on his corner at Howard and Spokane Falls Blvd.
Hetnar moved Spokane Dogs Downtown last August. He said there are more problems with the homeless, street kids bugging people, and others who are just hanging out than real violent crime.
“There is no huge crime issue in terms of violence,” said Hetnar. Annoyance, perhaps, but that's in any city anywhere.”
Spokane Police began ramping up patrols to eight cars in Downtown Spokane last October. They also began checking in with businesses more and increased their bike patrol.
MORE: Spokane Police ramp up patrols in Downtown area
SPD said the extra patrols resulted in a 35 percent decrease in assaults Downtown.
Over the next month, police also planned to increase their weekend bar patrols and officer foot patrols, and have even more bicycle cops on the street.
“We are gearing up operationally for a lot of the events that are coming up,” said SPD Capt. Judi Carl. “We have Cinco de Mayo coming up, we have Lilac week, we have Bloomsday and Memorial Day weekend - and obviously, we want this to be a safe place.”
For Rob Hetnar, a decrease in crime means an increase in business.
“Compared to any place that I've been in the world, this is probably the safest city I’ve ever been in,” said Hetnar.
Hetnar added he believes what helps the most are foot patrols.