Data: Shootings in Spokane up by 27% this year compared to 2020

SPOKANE, Wash. –Two people have been shot and killed in Spokane over the past two weeks. Shootings are on the rise in the city and numbers from the police department shine a light on what Spokane has seen in the past five years.

As of Oct. 16, the Spokane Police Department investigated 119 shootings. It includes murders, drive-by shootings and illegally shooting a gun. Last year, it was 94 — a 27-percent increase.

“A lot of the incidents that we investigate involving a firearm — the people that are using it shouldn’t have possessed it in the first place either their criminal history prohibits it or their age prohibits it,” said Cpl. Nick Briggs with Spokane Police.

To break down the numbers even more, data from the department showed there were 42 drive-by shootings last year. So far this year that number is 36. Briggs said we’re on track to surpass last year’s number.

Overall, violent crimes like homicide, rape and robbery went up by eight percent. However, Briggs said one number did drop.

“We’re seeing an increase in the shooting category, but overall aggravated assaults — second lowest they’ve been in five years,” he explained.

Out of all the shootings this year, there is no common theme. It can range anywhere from drugs and domestic violence to gang affiliations.

“None of these incidents share all the exact same characteristics, so it’s certainly a trend that we don’t like to see. But, to say that there’s one factor causing it, I don’t know that we can do that,” Briggs said.

He said that random shootings are very rare, but they can happen and take an innocent person’s life.

“The thing that worries us the most is anytime that firearms are used there’s that component too where the public, in general, is definitely at risk,” Briggs said. “We don’t want anybody to get hurt and we certainly don’t want the innocent public to be injured.”

Many people have called 911 to report a shooting — 820 this year as of Oct. 18. However, it does not mean a shooting actually happened.

Briggs said only about 10-percent of the time do police find evidence that a shooting happened whether officers track down a victim or shell casings.

Homicides in Spokane are down. Last year, police investigated 21 murders. This year — 10. In eight of the cases this year, someone was arrested.

There is a Spokane Safe Streets Regional Task Force to tackle violent crime. Briggs said avoiding shootings and tragedies also comes back to you.

“It means holding your family and friends accountable,” he said. “We find that people — this had kinda boiled over but there were times before it that loved ones and acquaintances could’ve intervened, could’ve notified somebody and a lot of these things could’ve been prevented.”

Briggs added that this can be taxing on resources, but they have the resources to do it to keep Spokane safe.

“This is a complex issue that requires a lot of community support and community involvement, too,” he said.

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