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Crime Prevention | Spokane, WA
CRIME: Prevention
  • Crime breaks down families, and communities.  When trust is gone, people don't feel safe.  Spokane citizens will feel safer when the entire community puts forth an increased effort to fight crime.

  • Criminals were not raised in jails and prisons.  The pain of past childhood causes many people to seek relief in pleasure, even if it's morally or criminally wrong.

  • If jails and prisons solved crime, we would have less crime and fewer people incarcerated.  Volunteers are essential in reforming criminals, because they can offer relationships, which motivate people to want to develop their capacities and change their undesirable behavior.  

  • Drugs are the motivation behind most thefts and burglaries in Spokane.

  • All lives matter.  There have been 158 homicides, including vehicular homicides, in Spokane County from 2007 to 2015.  (Vigil Offers Comfort, by Nina Culver, The Spokesman-Review, September 25, 2015)

  • Spokane has 3 incarceration facilities which house 3,500 inmates behind bars.  Each year we release 2,000 inmates into our community, many of which have no job, no home, and no money.  (Spokane County Jail, Airway Heights Prison, Geiger Correction Facility)

What You Can Do
  • Become a Citizen WATCH-DOG!   Help fight crime.  Get involved.  Help reduce the crime rate in Spokane.  Report anything suspicious to law enforcement.  

Remember - the primary line of defense in our community is not the police - it is the eyes and ears of you and your neighbors.  Observe unusual activities in your neighborhood.  Write down license plates.  Look out your windows before you go to bed at night, and report any suspicious activity.  Be watchful and report suspicious activity to your community SCOPE or COPS office.

    Report a possible crime, or suspicious activity
    (509) 456-2233  (non-emergency)
    email:  crimecheck@spokanecounty.org 

    Give anonymous tips - to law enforcement.  
    (509) 327-5111 or (509) 477-3181
    Email:  rig9@spokanesheriff.org 
    Write to:  Secret Witness, PO Box 1205, Spokane, WA  99210 
    http://www.spokanecounty.org/2927/Report-It-Form   (form with 8 boxes)
    https://www.citizenobserver.com/cov6/app/webTipForm.html?id=21014   (form with 3 boxes)

    Receive Money for Tips - about Crime and Criminals.   
    Crime Stoppers of the Inland NW -  offers cash rewards for info leading to indictment or arrest. This SCOPE program encourages reluctant callers to provide information and remain anonymous.   
    1-800-222-TIPS (8477) 
    or submit a Tip Online at http://crimestoppersinlandnorthwest.org/ 

    View the Most Wanted Criminals in Spokane County.  Do you recognize anyone?

    Inform the Sheriff.  Report knowledge of a crime to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office
    Email: spokanesherifftips@spokanesheriff.org. 
    They will compile complaints and add officers to areas of multiple burglaries and other crimes.

    Submit an anonymous tip.
      Click the Metadata tab. 

    Attend the Citizens Academy - register to attend 8 free evening sessions. 

    Learn about local law enforcement, ask questions, and see their equipment.    

    Additional Law Enforcement Help lines:

  • If you see something unusual, say something!  If you see someone who is spending more time looking at police and surveillance cameras, rather than the event you are attending, tell someone.  They may be a criminal - or a terrorist!  

  • View our Community Crime Map, showing crime activity in your neighborhood, or Spokane County.  
    Log-on to the Sheriff’s Regional Crime map:
    Help improve communication between law enforcement and the public, to reduce crime and improve public safety.  Crime mapping helps the public get a better idea of the crime
 activity in their area, so they can make more informed decisions about how to stay safe.  

    Community Crime Map automatically alerts the public about recent crime activity.  It also empowers the public to make better decisions about crime by putting the same technology
 used by law enforcement to analyze and interpret crime activity into the hands of the public. The “Buffer” feature allows you to see crimes within a specified radius of an address.
  • Remember:  Criminals are grown in communities, not in jails.   Our entire community can work together to achieve public safety.  Attend community safety workshops to increase your awareness of local issues, learn about local crime fighting resources, and how to prevent crime.  

  • Parents.  Teach your children by your example to respect and obey the law, and the consequences of breaking the law.  Do not permit them to drive without a license, break the fireworks law, fish or hunt without a license, etc.  Allowing them to break any laws will send a message to them that laws are optional. 

  • Volunteer to strengthen families.  Strong families make stronger communities.  Volunteer to work with parents.  Teach fathers to love and be responsible for their children.  Teach fathers that sons raised outside of an intact marriage are, on average, more than twice as likely as other boys to end up in jail.  We will never have enough jails, prisons, ambulances, or counselors until we strengthen families.  The cost of building facilities, of maintaining them, of feeding and clothing and guarding the inmates is staggering.  All of those inmates are the products of homes--the place where behavior is learned, where standards are taught, where values are established.  The path that led to incarceration, in so very many cases, began in childhood.  (Maggie Gallagher, "Fatherless Boys Grow Up into Dangerous Men," Dec. 1, 1998, A22)

  • Religious volunteers are especially effective.  Religious volunteers have greatly reduced the recidivism rate in prisons. The teachings of Christ can change attitudes and behavior faster than simply trying to change behavior.  When people accept the teachings of Christ, they are changed within, and then they change their own behavior.  Jails and prison walls do not improve behavior, because good behavior cannot be imposed by law.  If merely placing people in prison was effective, felons would never return to jail.  

  • Take a self-defense class.  
Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop
1200 N. Freya
Spokane, WA  99202
(509) 535-4444   
Contact Robin   
  • Attend community safety workshops to increase your awareness of local issues, learn about local crime fighting resources, and how to prevent crime.  

    Attend the Citizens Academy.  Register to attend 8 free evening sessions. Learn about local law enforcement, ask questions, and see their equipment.

  • Volunteer with Spokane C.O.P.S or Spokane County S.C.O.P.E.  

  • Obtain FREE gun locks at S.C.O.P.E. stations.  
  • Crime Prevention Presentations.  Ask the Spokane Co. Sheriff's Crime Prevention Unit to present a crime prevention class or presentation.

    Deputy Chris Johnston
    Crime Prevention Unit
    (509) 389-2771
    Email: CRJohnston@spokanesheriff.org 

    These services are FREE, and include:

    • Neighborhood Watch
    • Map your neighborhood disaster preparedness
    • Home and business security surveys
    • Safe streets/nuisance abatement education
    • Crime free multi-housing
    • Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED)
    • Scams, fraud and identity theft prevention
    • Investment fraud prevention and education
    • Personal safety
    • Internet safety
    • child safety education
    • Firearms safety
    • Robbery prevention and procedures
    • Retail theft prevention
    • Drug awareness
    • Terrorism awareness and domestic preparedness
    • Workplace violence prevention / dealing with hostile individuals
    • Emergency response procedures (evacuation vs. shelter-in-place)
    • Public speaking
    • Anti-bullying education
    • by calling (509) 477-6044 for unincorporated Spokane County, or (509) 477-2592 for the city of Spokane Valley.

  • National Night Out Against Crime.  If you want to feel safer where you live, get to know your neighbors, and watch out for each other.  This program, part of Block Watch and Neighborhood Watch programs, helps prevent and solve crimes in area neighborhoods.  For more information, call (509) 477-3055, visit a COPS shop, or call Spokane COPS at (509) 835-4572.  
Then, organize a Night Out party in your neighborhood.   Gather for backyard barbeques or ice-cream socials to meet your neighbors and members of local law enforcement.  Register your party through law enforcement, and request a law enforcement officer to attend.  
  • Neighborhood felons.  Protect your children by viewing a website which reveals neighbors convicted of felony crimes.  View http://felonspy.com/search.html.  Enter your address, and your neighborhood map will pop up.  Every place you see a red balloon or thumb tack is the home of a convicted felon.  Place your mouse over one of the red icons to reveal the felon's name and the crime he was convicted of.  
  • Elect mayors and councilmen/women who make public safety and law enforcement a priority.  
  • Promote and support tougher laws and penalties for Spokane, as we put criminals and all citizens on notice.  
  • Reduce Shoplifting.  Post large black/orange signs (like "For Sale" signs) in local stores, that say:  
Ride in a police car
for each person
who shoplifts in Spokane !

  • View crime information including crime stats, crime alerts and crime reports in Spokane County at http://spotcrime.com/wa/spokane.  Track crime in your own neighborhood.  Count the number and types of crimes which occur in Spokane every day.
  • Serve on Jury Duty.  When the opportunity arises to participate in the important role a juror plays in our community and nation's judicial system, make the personal sacrifices to serve.  
  • FBI's Most Wanted People.  Protect your family, our community, and the nation by helping the FBI catch those who are wanted for crimes against children, terrorism, fugitives, and others.  You can also help reunite missing persons of all ages with their loved ones. Rewards are offered in some cases.  http://fbi.gov/wanted
  • Learn of success in other communities:  Research the policies in other cities which have reduced their crime rates.  Share what you have learned with city councils.  

Stand up, speak up, and make a difference.  Support our law enforcement in fighting crime.  

    • Vancouver, B.C.:  NASKARZ is an award-winningg program which stands for Never Again Steal Cars.  The program brings together police, automotive staff at the community college, and at-risk youth including Indigenous youth, to build and refurbish cars at college facilities. 

      NASKARZ gets youth off the street
      and introduces them to a trade, which some participants later pursue.  This program has been credited with a 71% drop in car thefts in Vancouver over several years. 

      The biggest payoff was eliminating the barrier between the youth and police.   Surveys show that Indigenous people are less likely to trust and more likely to fear police than non-Indigenous people.  But advocates suggested a solution to breaching the invisible wall dividing both sides might be as simple as bringing them together - in the NASKARZ program.   Read the Government Report,  http://www.nascarzprogram.com

  • Nextdoor is a FREE private social network designed to build stronger and safer neighborhoods and communities.  It is the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world.

    Next Door is designed to help neighbors - 

        ◦    Keep crime down.  Quickly get the word out about a break-in. 
Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group

        ◦    Keep up with local events

        ◦    Focus on the people and place where you live

        ◦    Receive neighborhood news and events

        ◦    Receive alerts about their neighborhood.

        ◦    Track down a trustworthy babysitter
Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog

        ◦    Find a new home for an outgrown bike

        ◦    Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name

    Nextdoor's mission is to bring back a sense of community to the neighborhood, one of the most important communities in each of our lives.  “Nextdoor” hosts neighborhoods in all 50 states, including some in Spokane. Thousands of neighborhoods are using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.  Visit Nextdoor at https://nextdoor.com/

  • Legendary criminal Whitey Bulger was captured in 2011 after 16 years on the run.  He was convicted in 2013, sentenced to 2 life-terms plus 5 years for his role in 11 murders, federal racketeering, extortion and conspiracy.  At the age of 85, Bulger wrote about a life he called ‘wasted’ in a letter from behind bars at a high security federal penitentiary in Florida.  

    “Don’t waste your time on such as I.  We are society’s lower, best forgotten…I’m a 9th grade dropout from school and took the wrong road…My life was wasted and spent foolishly, brought shame and suffering on my parents and siblings and will end soon. Advice is a cheap commodity; some seek it from me about crime. If you want to make crime pay, go to law school… sincerely, James Bulger.”    (Mob Memories, reporter Elaine Quijano, CBS This Morning, June 29, 2015)

Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Spokane's Law Enforcement HELP Lines

America's Most Wanted.  View photos of missing children, missing persons, and fugitives.