SPOKANE, Wash. — At first glance it might seem like a sign that crime is on the rise because the number of calls to Spokane Police is increasing.
But, police said that's actually a good thing.
Spokane Police Department officials said it's a common trend to see the number of calls for service go up during the summer months and go down in the winter. The department looks at police activity numbers for each quarter and in this year's third quarter calls are up by about a thousand compared to the same quarter in 2017.
Data from the Spokane Police Department show that from July 1 to September 30 of 2017, there were 68,000 calls for service. This year, during that same time frame, the data showed that there have been 69,000 calls to service.
"In a large way, it's a good thing because it says that our citizens are more willing to call us and get us involved in a situation," said Spokane Police Major Eric Olsen."That gives us more opportunity to build that trust and that partnership to investigate crimes and make our community a safer place to live."
You might assume that if the number of calls has increased, that must mean the number of arrests has gone up too. Turns out, that isn't the case. The number has remained consistent with police making 1,705 arrests in 2017 and 1,786 in 2018. Olsen believes that's because the department is working in the right direction.
The data also showed that between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the third quarter in 2018, the number of officer responses has continued to increase. In the fourth quarter of 2016, police responded to 31,000 calls and by the third quarter of 2018, they had responded to 45,900 calls.
"We are employing things like our crisis intervention team with mental health professionals riding in the cars with officers. So, we employ other options rather than just taking them to jail. We might just be able to take them to a mental health facility and deal with it that way," he said.
Another trend Major Olsen pointed out is an increase in "Officer initiated activity." He said this means, while the demand for officers is going up, they are still working hard to proactively combat crime.