SPOKANE, Wash. — Commercial property owners in Spokane and lawmakers came together on Friday to talk about their concerns over an uptick in crime within the city.
The Spokane Commercial Property Council held the conversation over zoom with Sen. Andy Billig (D – Spokane) and Rep. Jenny Graham (R – Spokane County) regarding public safety.
The property owners on the call were vocal about their concerns over crime trends in Spokane. Five business owners volunteered to share their experiences during the Q&A. Many of them shared similar concerns.
“With people that camp in the area, there are problems that come with it. A huge amount of trash, many needles,” said Len Urgeleit. “A lot of people use the sidewalks as their bathrooms. There are drug dealers that come into town as the business owners leave.”
"The violence that these transients are showing is a complete disregard for any type of safety or security or authority," said Jim, a security guard with Riverfront Park.
Rep. Graham spoke during the meeting, saying when it comes to combating crime and making Spokane safer, accountability is key.
"If you really want to see a solution, the best thing to do is prosecute these people for these crimes," said Graham.
After the roundtable, KREM 2 News reached out to the Spokane police for a comment.
A spokesperson said the department shares community members' concerns about the rise in crime within the city.
“Every day our officers are making arrests of those involved in criminal activity. A vast majority of property crimes are committed by a small group of people, many of them repeat offenders,” a spokesperson said. “SPD is committed to holding those responsible for crime accountable, knowing that doing so will require working with our criminal justice partners to find solutions."
Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl is expected to attend next month's roundtable discussion with the Spokane Commercial Property Council.