Spokane fourth in country for vehicle thefts

Published On: Jan 23 2013 06:25:01 PM PST
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Remember to lock your doors: Spokane has just been named the fourth worst city in the country for car thefts.

It's an award the city police aren't proud of, and they're fighting back to bring those numbers down.

"Vehicle theft is not going to be tolerated in Spokane,” said Spokane police officer Jennifer DeRuwe. "We're going to be aggressively pursuing these thieves, and one of the things we can use is the technology that's at our disposal. We're looking to increase the use of that technology."

The main piece of technology in use is a series of cameras mounted on the roof of patrol cars. They read the license plates on passing vehicles.

"It shows you a picture of the vehicle, it shows you a picture of the vehicle's license plate, and it has a GPS component that shows you where you passed that vehicle," said Spokane police officer Dan Cole. "It immediately and automatically compares it against the data base and gives you an alert if one of the plates happen to be on a stolen car."

According to statistics, an average of seven cars are stolen daily in Spokane, and the police department said finding them quickly is a priority to prevent them from being used in other crimes.

"It's a good feeling when you find one before someone's wrecked it or taken parts or something like that." Cole said.

To combat car thefts, the police department said it will look at outfitting more cruisers with plate readers and consider using sting operations to catch thieves.