SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Mayor David Condon has set his sights on property crimes and has pledged to run thieves out of the area with new enforcement efforts.
Condon says citizens will see more police officers in neighborhoods where statistics show break-ins are most likely to occur.
One of those areas is near the intersection of 5th and Walnut, where there are quite a few transients and panhandlers. Police believe some of them are responsible for a lot of car prowling incidents in the downtown area and so for at least 15 minutes every day an officer's going to be working this problem.condon property crimes video
"In the end we need to make sure that the criminals know Spokane is not where they want to operate; they need to find somewhere else because if they operate within the city they are going to get caught," Mayor Condon said.
Condon also made good on a campaign pledge Thursday to make property crimes his top priority.
"We're first focusing on repeat offenders, we're looking at crime trends and then geographic hot spots," he said.
Those hot spots are where you'll find the police department's Patrol Anti-Crime Unit or PACT team. It was their information led to a SWAT raid last week that turned up meth and two stolen guns. One of the people arrested in that raid was Bennie Lee Carson, a repeat offender.
"While you get up in the morning and you pick up your briefcase or lunch pail and you got to work, they get up in the morning and they go to work to but their job is stealing your stuff," Spokane Police Major Frank Scalise said.
The mayor is hoping new technologies will make the department more efficient. Two police cars are outfitted with a camera that scans license plates looking for stolen vehicles. Crime analysis is getting new software to spot, even predict crime trends.
"Fifty percent our of crime is taking place in about six and a half percent of our city blocks so rather than spread our resources out randomly and getting random results back we wanted to be more focused in our efforts," Interim Police Chief Scott Stephens said.
That in turn means more raids on the dealers who sell the drugs that drive property crimes in the first place.
"Every day these people have to put the dope up their arms and dope's expensive and they have to get the money somewhere and they're not working. They're doing burglaries and car thefts and everything else to pay for their dope," Sergeant Joe Peterson with the Police Department's PACT team said.
As part of the mayor's initiative members of the community will also be given the opportunity to attend a number of crime prevention meetings, where they can how to better protect their property.