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Crime Moves To The Suburbs Major Crimes Decline In City, But City-County Total Inches Up

FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 1996

Crime increased in the Spokane suburbs last year but dropped inside the city limits, statistics show.

Reports of major crimes in unincorporated areas rose 11 percent in 1995, compared with 1994. In the city of Spokane, those crimes declined about 2 percent.

In the city and county combined, major crime increased 2 percent.

Sheriff’s Lt. David Wiyrick attributed part of the county’s worsening crime problem to population growth in the Valley and on the North Side.

Calls for help climbed nearly 12 percent in 1995 over the previous year, Wiyrick said.

In the city, Police Lt. Jerry Oien said community-oriented policing efforts helped keep a lid on crime.

“Working hard with the community may be paying off,” Oien said.

Murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, non-aggravated assault, burglary, theft and car theft are classified as major crimes.

A well-documented increase in rapes and homicides - a record 24 people were murdered in the city in 1995 - did not significantly impact the overall crime picture in either the city or the county.

In the county, thefts and burglaries accounted for much of the 1995 crime increase, with both reaching four-year highs.

Last year, there were nearly 1,700 burglaries reported in the county and nearly 1,900 thefts, both up 12 percent over 1994.

Wiyrick said those increases coincided with population growth and an upswing in methamphetamine use.

Many addicts break into homes to steal belongings they later sell to support their habits, Wiyrick said.

In the city last year, there were fewer crimes reported in four categories: robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and theft.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Crime in ‘95

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