SPOKANE, Wash. — Sit and lie citations in Spokane have gone up significantly from previous years.
Protesters camped outside Spokane city hall for weeks in late 2018 in opposition of the "sit and lie" ordinance. It prohibits people from sitting or lying on downtown sidewalks from 6 a.m. to midnight. City council members suspended the ordinance while they worked to add more warming shelter spaces but brought it back two months later.
The latest numbers for "sit and lie" citations and bookings in 2019 are from mid-Feb. to the end of March. That because the ordinance resumed Feb. 8.
In those two months, Spokane Police made a total of 23 citations and bookings. This is a significant increase from the same time frame in the last five years.
The Spokane Public Safety and Community Health committee will receive an update on the latest "sit and lie" enforcement numbers at its meeting next week. The data goes back to 2014.
So far this year, Spokane police reported 23 citations and bookings related to sit and lie. Looking back at the same time frame of Feb. to the end of March in previous years there were 19 reported in 2018. Continuing through 2017 to 2014, the numbers go down to the single digits.
In the last five years, 2018 stands out with the most citations at 189 with many of them occurring in the winter months.
To be clear though, police are not supposed to enforce the sit and lie ordinance when shelters are at full capacity.
Spokane police will present this data at the public safety committee meeting on Monday. Spokane city and police officials said they weren't ready to comment on the data at this time.