Criminal hotspots shift in Spokane Valley and County

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by WHITNEY WARD & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on July 9, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 9 at 10:11 PM

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -- In the first six months of 2013, crime statistics have shown a decrease in unincorporated Spokane County and an increase in Spokane Valley.

Locals who have lived in the area for decades without problems are now seeing the changes.

"We've been left alone pretty much around here," said John Cael, a nearly 50-year resident of Spokane Valley. "Except they did steal some batteries out of my RV here."

Thieves also stole his neighbor's car, and his previously peaceful neighborhood is becoming a crime hotspot.

"Yeah, it does [worry me]," Cael added. "I hate to lock down everything all the time. But I guess we have to."

In unincorporated Spokane County assaults, commercial burglary, forgery, robbery and crimes against persons are all up. Robbery is up the most with a 27% increase.

Garage burglary, residential burglary, property crimes, domestic violence, drugs, malicious mischief, sex crimes, stolen vehicles, theft and vehicle prowling crimes are all down in Spokane County. Residential burglary saw the biggest decrease of 50%.

In Spokane Valley, commercial burglary, garage burglary, residential burglary, property crimes, domestic violence, forgery, robbery, sex crimes, stolen vehicles, theft and vehicle prowling has all increased. Robbery saw the biggest increase of 56%.

Assault, crimes against persons, drugs, and malicious mischief are the only crimes that saw a decrease in Spokane Valley. Drug crimes saw the biggest decrease of 21%.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office said it will not tolerate the spike in crime.

"We're going to look at the areas," said Deputy Craig Chamberlin. "We're going to look at the data. We'll look at the timeframes, and the people living in this area that are notorious for committing the types of crimes we're seeing. And yes, we're going to devote all the resources we possibly can."

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich recognizes the increase in these crimes. The office's primary focus will be on robberies. The Regional Property Crimes Task Force is being used to share intelligence and resources to combat robberies and other increasing crime rates.

But residents in Spokane Valley are making changes too.

"I'll lock down more things when we leave, like the RV. I got a couple of sheds in the back yard with some expensive equipment. And those are locked down real tight," Cael said. "And I never used to."

Officials said they believe there are a handful of key players behind the jump in crime. They said they will be increasing patrols and manpower in the parts of town that are getting hit the most.

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