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Student holds meeting addressing car prowling issues at Lewis and Clark

Leilani Santiago started a safety committee at her school. On Wednesday night, she held a meeting with students, parents and C.O.P.S volunteers.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Lewis and Clark student Leilani Santiago had her car broken into this March. Thieves smashed a window and took a pair of sunglasses, but that wasn't the worst of it.

They poured Mountain Dew into her gas tank. Damages totaled $3,000.

"The goal today is to inform everyone about what has been done, what is being done and brainstorm ideas for what can be done," Santiago said.

Leilani started a safety committee at her school. She held a meeting Wednesday night with students, parents and C.O.P.S volunteers.

"We have the money to get the security cameras, we just need permission from the department of transportation," said Leilani's mom, Heidi. She believes cameras would help, and so would extra patrols. She said campus safety specialists do walkthroughs during school hours, but no one is assigned after school, during plays or sporting events.

"I think we're seeing a lot of interest in 'okay, maybe we've crossed a line when it comes to crime and some of the things we're allowing' and therefore we need to make some changes and it's starting with you guys," Spokane C.O.P.S Executive Director Patrick Striker said.

Striker reminded people at the meeting that all crimes need to be reported. Police pay attention to data and will often shift patrols to cover hot spot areas.

Lieutenant Steve Braun said Neighborhood Resource officers increased their presence two months ago in the area of Madison to Cedar and Sprague to Second Avenue.  

Calls for service in the area reduced from 93 in the two weeks before to 57 in the two weeks after emphasis patrols. And vehicle prowling reports went from 18 to 3.

"That tells me that our officers are out doing a fantastic job and in the outreach in doing some of those CTPED recommendations and just being a visible presence so that the community sees our officers out in a couple of square block area as a deterrent for criminal activity," Braun said.

Once officers move to another identified hotspot downtown, Braun says these numbers may go back up slightly. But they rarely go back to where they were before.  

Leilani said she also plans to bring the parking lot issues before city council members at their meeting next Monday.

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