Property crime in the Spokane Valley continued its roller coaster ride last month, falling slightly in November after rising in October.
Overall, 100 burglaries were reported during November, down 14 from October. However, burglaries at apartments and businesses rose considerably.
Eight burglaries were reported at Valley apartment complexes during November, double the amount in October. Meanwhile, 31 businesses were burglarized, seven more than the previous month.
Sheriff’s investigators acknowledged the increase in burglaries, but had trouble pinpointing a cause.
“It kind of comes and goes,” Sgt. Gary Smith said of the apartment burglaries. “Sometimes it depends on if there’s a bad guy that moves into one of the complexes.”
Cars around apartment complexes were also frequently burglarized. About 200 car burglaries were reported in the Valley last month, several near complexes.
Deputies asked SCOPE - Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Effort - volunteers who participate in the citizens on patrol program to pay careful attention to apartment complexes on North Wilbur Road and North Hutchinson.
Detectives made two arrests last month that they hope will help cut down on the problem in the south Valley.
Chrystal Moorehead, 18, and a 16-year-old boy were arrested on Nov. 20. The two are charged with committing 16 car break-ins between the 24th and 28th avenues and University and Bowdish avenues. A 20-year-old man is also being sought for those crimes.
Smith said the three could face first-degree theft and malicious mischief charges instead of the standard misdemeanor charges because of the number of crimes they are charged with.
Stolen vehicles dropped dramatically last month. Only 51 were reported countywide last month, about 60 percent of which were taken in the Valley.
But Smith, who heads the sheriff’s department property crime unit, expected that number to jump back up this month.
With the colder weather, people leave their unoccupied cars running to warm them up, and someone steals them.
Smith also expected forgeries to continue at a high rate because of the consistently high number of car burglaries in which checkbooks and wallets are stole. Over 100 forgery cases were reported in the Valley last month.