SPOKANE, Wash. - You know the old adage "There's never a cop around when you need one”? On Monday, the Spokane City Council found out why.
In Spokane, a group of businesses and non-profits dominate the police department's call for service list. Near the top of the list, the Excelsior Youth Center in northwest Spokane near Francis and Indian Trail Road.
The number one call for service spot is at the Spokane Police Department's front desk where people show up in person to ask officers for help.
The number two call for service is at Excelsior where young wards of the state try to get their lives back on track.
Excelsior houses and fosters the kids who've been taken away from their abusive parents. In 2015 and '16, Spokane Police were called to the center 3,954 times. The vast majority of incidents came in when the Excelsior staff reported the children who had run away from the center. The numbers don't reflect the crimes being committed by Excelsior clients in the nearby neighborhood.
“It's not just that they may be involved in criminal activity away from the facility, the concern too is that they're potential victims of this type of crime and they can be easily be manipulated and taken advantage of by other parties in the community,” said Spokane Police Captain Tom Hendren.
The number three hot spot is Northtown Mall with 2,043 calls for service. The majority of them theft reports, medical emergencies and 111 incidents of vehicle prowling. The shopping center ranks high on the list because Northtown's loss prevention staff and video surveillance system are apparently very good at catching crooks.
“Their security office reached to us to partner and try to address out a spike they saw in vehicle prowlings last year,” said Capt. Hendren. “They actually did some very aggressive patrols and changed the way they were operating to try to reduce those numbers.”
Providence Sacred Heart made the top ten list as officers responded there to people who had been injured in the commission of a crime.
The STA bus plaza saw a total of 1, 877 calls for service with 526 medical calls and a lot of people picked up on warrants.
Spokane City Council members were concerned to hear a state-funded foster home was commanding so much of the police department's attention and asked the chief to help Excelsior find whatever resources it needs to complete it's difficult mission.
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