Condon wants increased police presence downtown

SPOKANE, Wash. - Condon wants increased police presence downtown vo

Spokane Mayor David Condon said Monday bad behavior that targets businesses or visitors downtown is unacceptable and wants police to have more assets to deal with the problem.

Downtown property crime, like the break-in and looting of Sport Town last week, half an hour after the same group of juveniles assaulted a man in front of the Satellite Diner, is actually down five-percent from the same period last year. Violent crime in downtown Spokane is down six-percent from last September.

Six police officers and a sergeant assigned to the downtown core are getting results but Mayor Condon wants to see an even greater downward trend on those crime statistics.

"People need to feel safe when they come down. They should have that expectation and so when I see things like what you caught on video it makes me angry to even think that happens in our community," Condon said.

When things do happen it's usually well after midnight, when downtown police presence is at its lowest level. Just a half hour after the attack at the Satellite Diner last week, the same group involved in the attack were spotted using a pipe to break out a storefront window at Sport Town on Main Avenue.

"They did anywhere from five to eight thousand dollars in damage between this big window, my display case, my neon signs and they took fifteen hundred dollars of merchandise," Steve Warwick at Sport Town said.

Surveillance cameras were rolling when the group ran less than a block across Main Avenue and divided up their loot in a stairwell; the smash and grab a costly reality of just not having enough police officers to offer downtown around the clock protection.

"This is a consistent need that, with the presence of officers, we will see a decrease in crime. This is not a case where we will get more officers and crime will go up. The presence of officers reduces this sort of activity," Condon said.

Condon is hoping the Spokane City Council will approve an ordinance change that will make is easier to roust street kids out of downtown before their late night boredom or intoxication reach their peak. That won't happen until next month, so the police department is stepping up its undercover patrols where street kids congregate.