Local News

Prowling at Spokane parks up almost 40-percent

SPOKANE, Wash. - If you plan to spend the sunny weekend at one of Spokane's parks or pools leave your valuables at home. Vehicle prowling in Spokane is up by almost 40-percent.

Police are telling everyone who may be heading out over the weekend to "Remove it or lose it."

For Phillip Bryant it was the perfect day in the park to catch that elusive snapshot.

"Trying to find some hummingbirds mainly but haven't found any yet," said Bryant.

He says it's all about finding the right moment.

Prowling up at Spokane parks

"Opportunity knocks so you can get what you can get," said Bryant.

Unfortunately thieves are out there thinking the same thing.

"It's quick and silent and they will do it in the middle of a lot of people," said Steven Nittolo, Horticulture Supervisor for City of Spokane Parks and Recreation.

According to Spokane Police car prowling in the city is up 40-percent. Parks like Manito are preparing to keep that number down.

"Going for a higher resolution camera in at least one location now," said Nittolo.

Even though the cameras at Manito are pretty obvious, park officials didn't want us to say where they were located. They also move them around on a regular basis.

"They could be anywhere," said Nittolo.

Recently Dwight Merkel Sports Complex was vandalized to the sting of $17,000. That incident has park officials thinking about putting up some more surveillance.

"Installing some close circuit TV cameras around the park try to get some high quality video of certain areas. Something we can track from my office," said Aaron Champagne with the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation department.

In June they installed a motion camera at the skate park to keep people out at night.

"That's where we were having the biggest problem with graffiti actually," said Champagne.

The high quality pictures help police identify anyone caught vandalizing the park. The voice activated sensor helps too.

"Tells the individuals that they are in the park after hours that they should leave and that their picture is being taken," said Champagne.

Even with stepped up security at parks Bryant knows where ever he's at it's up to him not to give would be car prowlers any incentive by leaving his equipment in the car.

"It's too expensive and too hard to replace so you make sure it's either locked up and put away or out of sight," said Bryant.

That's good advice for any place you go, not just parks. Another helpful tip is if you see something suspicious go ahead and report it.