‘Frustrating’: Repeat offenders commit the most crime in the community, go in and out of jail

SPOKANE, Wash. – Even with 200 arrests, a repeat offender is back on the streets. 

Glen O’Brien was caught breaking into a car in downtown Spokane earlier this month. He had already been arrested 225 times and was let out of jail, yet again. 

Spokane Police have been tracking repeat offenders since the 1980s. Their data shows just how concentrated crime really is in a small group of people. 

READ: Spokane man who’s been arrested more than 225 times faces new charges

A group of 442 people has been arrested more than 42,000 times by Spokane Police. 

“On a personal level, it certainly is frustrating,” said Corporal Nick Briggs. “There are over 100,000 different documents which all come from law enforcement contact. That’s just one illustration of how a very small segment is committing a huge portion of our crime.”

When police arrested O’Brien earlier this month, it was because a neighborhood resource officer recognized him from their many interactions. 

Police say it’s frustrating for them to see a small group of people repeatedly victimizing the community. 

“We do need to work collaboratively as a criminal justice system because it does seem like these types of numbers shouldn’t exist,” said Briggs. 

It is a difficult issue to address because of how complicated the criminal justice system can be. 

“Judges have to consider multiple factors when determining release. When we, the prosecutor, are dealing with an offender with many failures to appear and a long criminal history, it’s our obligation to request a bond be set in those matters. Many times, our view of the facts differ from the judge, as well as the defense,” said Justin Bingham, Spokane City Prosecutor. 

The opinions may be different, but the outcome is someone back on the street potentially committing more crimes. 

Police say the best thing we can all do is take steps to avoid being a victim to car break-ins or something much worse. 

READ: Car thefts up  early 90 percent in Spokane