OLYMPIA, Wash. -

The Washington State Senate Law and Justice Committee will hold a session in the city of Spokane Valley Tuesday, Dec. 6, to discuss community response to a growing property-crime problem in the Spokane area.

This year, lawmakers made a special appropriation of $300,000 for Spokane-area law enforcement agencies to deal with the rising number of burglaries, auto thefts and other crimes against property.

The money has been allocated to agencies in Spokane County and the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley for pilot projects to combat property crime.

“The greater Spokane area has become a national hotspot for property crime,” said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

“Traditionally these crimes have not received the emphasis we have given to violent offenses, yet we need to remember that for every crime against property there is a victim," Padden said. 

“The rate of property crime we are seeing in the Spokane area is unacceptable,” said Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane. “This year we fought back by allocating money for local law enforcement. We are interested in hearing from community leaders about how the problem has affected our area and how the money is being used.”

Baumgartner said he plans legislation next year to toughen penalties for repeat offenders.