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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Suggestions toward solving the problem

Major Stevens explains that SPD has a ‘repeat offender program’ and for the people who end up on that list “It’s kind’a like being on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. We notice that these people pop up and pop up and pop up - and we make an effort to catch those people.” You want to catch them, you don’t want to move them to another spot (this is repeated by several SPD officers).

Someone suggests a citizens police academy similar to one in King County. The Spokane citizens police academy was eliminated due to budget cuts about two years ago. The academy in Spokane was more informational, where the one in King County gives citizens an opportunity to ride along with officers and be more hands on.

Neighborhood “patrols”

One business owner talks about confronting two intruders on his property, cutting up steel and trying to steal his “stuff” out of a yard. This happened last night. He says he “kicked the guy’s” behind, because he ended up in a wrestling match with the intruders. He says he has a right to bear arms and confront people on his property, but he is tired of getting ripped off. (This business owner did eventually call 911 and file a report).

SPD response: a burglary in progress is “nirvana” for cops because they want to come and help people - so call in and report it to 911 on the spot. It’s important to call in and let police come out and do their job. If a burglar gets run off someone’s property, the burglar is likely to go somewhere else and break in again.

Mayor Verner: what I’m hearing is that people don’t report incidents because they don’t think anything is going to happen? (correct, business owners say) Verner explains that she gets “Aim Reports” from the SPD that show what the police department is focusing on. “We need a feedback loop, we need to find a way to get that information back to the community, so people don’t think their reports go into a black hole.”

Crime prevention measures

They are labor intensive, someone has to watch them all the time. The business owners in Hillyard have purchased ISP addresses so their camera feeds can be viewed at the COPS shop.

SPD needs license plate numbers, times and dates. Descriptions of the people who show up frequently, but be careful while you are doing it so you don’t get into a confrontation with drug dealers or other criminals.
Report incidents even if you don’t think police is going to come out - it helps the police department build a pattern of activity, if there is one. Some of this information may be useful in court.

COPS suggests Business Watch - a plan like Block Watch, just for businesses. This effort has been very successful in the International District on East Sprague.

Note: These are essentially my notes, the way I take them at any meeting I cover - experimenting with live blogging.

SPD explains what it’s doing already

SPD: patrol officers in general run from disaster to disaster. The drug unit is not well equipped to deal with drug problems like the one in Hillyard. SPD says that you can’t just throw a couple of officers out there in plain clothes and take care of it. Some smaller drug units will be formed in January.

SPD Major Stevens: one thing we are trying to do is coodinate with the community and the police department - sometimes we don’t communicate real well and coordinate our efforts - we are working on that. He says they are going to sustain the drug effort. One thing people in Hillyard can do is notice and report drug houses - it will help SPD pick people up. “The more information we have the better we can respond,” Stevens said.
He adds that they have a high level of technology that can help them sustain what they are doing - they want to keep the pressure up - especially with people that are identified as repeat offenders. “We are trying to get the judges on board to boost their bail up, so they don’t get out of jail so easily,” Stevens said.

What’s the problem?

Marv Peterson: “There is so much drug dealing and vandalism going on here. I was broken into. We know the people who did it but we can’t do anything about it.”

Richard Burris: “We sometimes go out at night to keep an eye on things. There was a lot of traffic and people were getting in your face. We are not asking for more protection, we know that you don’t have enough resources. What we are asking for is more undercover patrols - everybody can recognize a black and white patrol car from a mile away. It doesn’t work.” The community groups are hoping that the SPD will be able to switch some resources to undercover patrols instead of regular street patrols.

Luke Tolley: “The response to the letter we sent has been awesome. Where we are at now is how do we continue on and work with the city.”

 

It’s a who’s who in Hillyard right now

In response to a letter sent to City Hall and the Spokane Police Department in November, there’s a community meeting going on right now at the Outlaw Cafe on Market Street. About 30 people are here - including council member Amber Waldreff, Mayor Mary Verner and many representatives from the Spokane Police Department.

Apologies for typos in the following posts - it’s the first time I’m doing live blogging - fun, yet demanding!

SPD update on crime prevention

From Greater Hillyard Business Association’s Luke Tolley:
“I just got a call from SPD’s Sgt. Tom Hendren, the officer who met with GHBA to discuss crime activity in downtown Hillyard.
He let me know that last night they served warrants on two houses/apartments on Olympic, one just east of Haven and one just west of Haven.  They arrested 11 people and will be working on an eviction at apartment and abatement at the house.  He believes this will help cut down a lot of our crime activity, but assured me that Det. Bowman and their Tech are still working with business owners to put up additional surveillance on building around the neighborhood in the next week or two.
Needless to say, I think our letter was very effective.  Sgt. Hendren would welcome any comments or feedback if you want to give him a call at 363-8224.”

Early morning robbery

From the Spokane Police Department: “Early Friday morning, at about 12:45 AM, a male walked into the Qwik Stop at Wellesley/Market, wearing a scarf pulled up over his face.  He displayed a handgun and demanded money from the clerk before leaving the store.  Spokane Police immediately responded to the scene but were unable to locate the suspect in the area.”
Here’s a link to the entire report.

If you know anything about this, please call Crime Check at 456-2233.

Girls day out and the Mayor is coming

Girls Day Out was on the top of the agenda today at the Historic Hillyard Merchants’ meeting. The annual shopping event is Saturday and it takes place in Hillyard, Garland, North Monroe and on East Sprague (the International District). Go to the Girls Day Out website for more information and read the story in your Voice section Thursday.
The letter to the city and police department asking for more police protection was well received. Mayor Mary Verner and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick along with city staff and city council members will be at a public meeting at the Outlaw Cafe on Dec. 15 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The meeting is open and intended as a forum for business owners and neighbors.

Look out for two suspected drug cars

Neighbors noticed a suspected drug deal in the area of South Hatch and Harrison on Monday. The cars involved are a burgundy, four-door Lexus with WA plates 565XOG and a Chevrolet Surburban with WA plates 426UWM. If you see the cars in the area or know where they belong, please call crime check at 456-2233

Girls Day Out planning meeting tonight

There’s a Girls Day Out planning meeting tonight at the Outlaw Cafe at 6 p.m. Girls Day Out is an annual neighborhood shopping event and this year it takes place in Hillyard, the Garland District, Monroe Business District and the International District (East Sprague) on Nov. 13 - anyone interested in helping out is welcome at the meeting Thursday evening.

Moving right along to the Merchants’ meeting Wednesday morning: The Hillyard Howl was deemed successful though some conversation was had as to whether it serves the group’s purpose of bringing shoppers into Hillyard and keeping them there for a while. The bake sale made $80.
The next big event is Girls Day Out (see above) followed by the Hillyard North Pole and Santa’s arrival. Santa’s chair is in the shop, getting painted, but will be ready for his arrival.
Merchant Committee members pay for the power and water cost associated with planters and holiday lights along Market Street. It’s by donation and the association is figuring out a way to make that system more fair, by suggesting a donation that matches the individual merchant’s storefront size. Paying the fee is not mandatory, but the group hopes that everyone will pay their fair share to cover the water and power bills.
And the Greater Hillyard Business Association has been meeting with businesses and neighbors in West Central who are working to get their business association back on track.
And finally, before mentioned letter to Mayor Mary Verner, the city council and the Spokane Police Department asking for more frequent and under-cover drug patrols in Hillyard was signed by most of the merchants at the meeting. It will be delivered to the city as soon as possible.

Arrest late Thursday

Colleague Meghann Cuniff covered an arrest on South Ivory Thursday night. Cuniff writes: “Members of the Spokane gang unit saw Brian J. King, 39, while patrolling the area of East 7th Street and South Perry Avenue, but King fled.
Then at 11:05 p.m., residents in the 600 block of South Ivory Street, just east of the vacant lot, reported a white man in a dark-colored sweatshirt trying to break into the home.
Spokane police Officer Shawn Kendall and his K-9, Stryder, found King hiding near South Ivory Street and East Newark Avenue.”

Here’s a link to the full story and a picture of King.

Watch out for scammer around South Perry

A nicely dressed young African-American man has been going house to house with well rehearsed stories of needing money immediately to attend his grandmother’s funeral. The story line is some version of “he’s worked so hard he only needs $14 to pay for his AMTRAC ticket,” his bus leaves in two hours and he only needs a few more dollars for the fare but has run out of time to work for it. He’s really doing this for his mother so she doesn’t have to go alone; he works at McDonald’s and has time off to go but can’t quite afford the ticket.

This morning’s Historic Hillyard Merchant Committee meeting

Here are some highlights from this morning’s meeting:
The committee meets every Wednesday morning at 8:30 at the Outlaw Cafe, meetings are open to anybody interested. There were about 20 people at this morning’s meeting.
Preparation for the Hillyard Howl – cleanup begins on Friday to get the building ready for next weekend. If anyone is interested in helping out, extra hands are always welcome.
(The location of the Hillyard Northpole is uncertain this year as the building it’s usually in may be rented out – stay tuned for more information.)
Luke Tolley, chair of the Hillyard Neighborhood Council, had an update on Girls Day Out which is coming to Hillyard on Nov. 13. Part of Girls Day Out is ‘goodie bags’ provided by local merchants and letters are going out right now for businesses that would like to participate. The next planning meeting is Thursday Oct. 21 at the Outlaw Cafe at 6 p.m.

In terms of crime prevention, the neighborhood has been trying to work out a video surveillance deal with the city and the police department. Some businesses owners already have video surveillance that they watch via internet from their homes – it’s been a problem that the video cameras get stolen. Someone suggested putting up dummy cameras as a deterrent, but everyone agreed on approaching the city and the police department with a letter.

The HHMC is looking for input into what people would like on the new website. A decision was made to not have a public forum on the site out of concern that it would have to closely monitored and moderated.
There was a short discussion about whether to continue to produce a newsletter on paper. It was named ‘The Hillyard Voice’ and will be published twice a month.
Richard Burris, of Hillyard Communtiy Futures, is proposing a joint letter to the city and the police department asking for undercover policing to increase in the area – there is drug dealing going on every night, he says. “I’m not gonna sit back for 10 years and see all what we’ve done to make this place better go to hell again,” said Burris. He volunteered to write the letter.
Business owners say that between midnight and 3 a.m. crime is rampant in the neighborhood - burglaries, vandalism, drug dealing, it’s all over the map. 

The blog has arrived

… and hey, it’s feeling welcome, too. My office away from the office is The Outlaw Cafe and I had barely sat down before Richard Burris of Hillyard Community Futures came in and said hello. Burris is ready to approach his city council members and the police chief about getting some better neighborhood patrols up here. “What we need is police in plain vehicles and plain clothes,” Burris said. “Those who cause trouble can spot a marked police car from a mile away.”
A local bar owner stopped in, too, and agreed wholeheartedly with Burris. He also shared that bars are in a tight spot when it comes to keeping the good customers around while running troublemakers off their property.
Conveniently council member Bob Apple, who represents Hillyard together with Amber Waldref, showed up, too. Apple listened carefully and encouraged Burris to contact the COPS Shop and the Neighborhood’s resource officer. “It’s important to report these things,” Apple said.
Burris is going to present a letter at the Hillyard Merchants Committee meeting Wednesday morning, hoping the group will support him and agree to approach city hall.
However, everyone present agreed that a lot of good things are happening in Hillyard and that the neighborhood is doing its best to get rid of a bad reputation and replace it with a much more positive image. Look for upcoming Halloween events and a Girls Day Out coming real soon.

Be on the look out for an old Jag

Via e-mail from crime hounds Will and Sue Hille: ”Does anyone know anything about on an older black Jaguar, four-door sedan with shiny chrome wheel covers [WA license #524-YFZ], or anything about its owner, driver or passengers? Will was admiring the car as it was parked on the 600 block of South Hatch and the driver reacted in a somewhat threatening way. We have heard of neighbors in that area being “spooked” by driver and passengers in that car.”

Call Crime Check if you are the victim of a theft, vehicle prowl or burglary, or if you see suspecious behavior around your address. The number is (509) 456-2233

Crime update

Via e-mail from neighborhood crime watchers Will and Sue Hille:

We no longer receive the SPD crime maps at C.O.P.S. East Central so I want to be sure you all know about sites you can connect to directly for daily updating on crime incidents close to your home.
The first is elert - a free service through the Spokane Police Department. Go to the Spokane Police Department and look on the left side of the screen for elert. Follow the prompts to sign up. This is a secure site and it provides current information about any area of the city you select.
The other is www.spotcrime.com, another free service that shows you a daily crime map delineating incidents within a three-mile radius of your address.
By checking both of these daily you will have better information more quickly than anything we can send.  Emergency alerts will come directly to your e-mail address.

Toddler handled police gun that injured three

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: EMMETT, Idaho (AP) — A 3-year-old child was handling an Emmett Police Department officer’s weapon that discharged and injured three people on Aug. 6. The Idaho Statesman reports the agency has been accused of a cover-up in the incident, so Emmett Police Chief Steve Nebeker is now trying to eliminate some of the rumors. The incident occurred at the residence of Emmett Detective Sgt. Kim Judy. Three people, including the 3-year-old handling the gun, a 2-year-old and Judy’s roommate, Whysper Rowden, were injured. Judy took the three to a hospital, but didn’t immediately report the incident. Nebeker says Judy was probably thinking more about getting to the hospital than calling 9-1-1. The three are recovering. The Ada County prosecutor’s office is now considering possible charges. Nebeker also says there’s an internal investigation.

Vandalism on East 11th Avenue

From the Spokane Police Department: there has seen a huge surge in malicious mischief over the last couple of days, and reports are continuing to come in. Initial numbers look like we are double what we normally see on an average week, and most of those have occurred over a two day period. BB and pellet guns appear to be the main method for breaking out vehicle and house windows. Many windows were damaged along East 11th Avenue from the 1200 to the 1900 block. Most of these crimes are occurring in the East Central Neighborhood. If you have been a victim of vehicle prowling, please make a report with Crime Check 456-2233.

Ice cream at Martin Luther King Center

In conjunction with Spokane’s Night Out Against Crime on Aug. 3, the Martin Luther King Jr. Outreach Center is holding an ice cream social in support of a new program for crime victim advocacy.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Outreach Center will provide resources and information such as crisis intervention, victim’s rights education, advocacy and emergency financial assistance to victims of crime.

The center is located at 845 S. Sherman Street and the ice cream social runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 3. It’s one of many events to be put on in Spokane that night, as part of the National Night Out Against Crime.

So, what else is new?

The Fair and Parade this weekend is over and has been declared a success. It was the 11th year that neighborhood organizers pulled off this event and attendance was higher than ever before. Feel free to post about your favorite or not favorite parts of the event - and then let’s move on:

This summer’s outdoor movies at The Shop begin on Saturday with Time Bandits - bring your own chairs, movie is free and starts at dusk.

An out-of-state blog reader sent this e-mail:

“I am so glad to see that you have a love for the neighborhood. I bought a home on E. 7th in late 2005. At the time the neighborhood was really improving, but I am hearing distressing news about the neighborhood. Everything on your blog seems to suggest the opposite of what I am hearing. Please email me to let me know if you think the neighborhood is improving.”

What do you think? Is the neighborhood improving?

Summertime, and the stealin’ is easy…

This just in from Sgt. Dave Reagan of the Sheriff’s Department - some good reminders in here for all of us:

Property crimes investigators report that the annual summertime crush of vehicle prowling incidents has begun and that losses are mounting.
Thieves know that boaters, hikers and walkers/runners don’t want to carry wallets, purses, cameras, GPS units, I-pods, I-pads and I-other things while they are out enjoying the day.  They consider parking lots target-rich environments for stealing items easy to pawn.The best way to defeat a vehicle prowler? Keep your valuables out of sight, preferably placed in your trunk before you arrive at the county park, Centennial Trail or boat launch parking lot. 
Criminals frequently sit nearby and watch for would-be victims who stuff their valuables beneath a seat as they lock up their vehicle, and it takes mere seconds to break a window to gain entry.

Leave the porch light on

Officer Dan Strassenberg is the neighborhood resource officer for the South Perry District. What does that mean? That means he has an office at COPS East Central on East Fifth and he’s the guy who responds to tips from neighbors about suspected drug houses, abandoned vehicles and other neighborhood concerns.

“It’s my impression that South Perry has changed a lot over the past couple of years,” Strassenberg said. “The neighborhood has really improved.” His biggest concern is with Grant Park where, he said, teens tend to hangout at night – especially now when school is out.

COPS and neighborhood policing

The South Perry Blog is visiting with COPS East Central and Officer Strassenberg (your neighborhood resource officer) Wednesday morning - let me know if there are any specific questions or issues you’d like to find out about.

Also, does anyone in the South Perry district have an active Block Watch group?

74-yr-old arrested in condiment crime spree

Here’s a news item from The Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Police say a 74-year-old Boise woman arrested after pouring mayonnaise in the Ada County library’s book drop box is a person of interest in a yearlong spree of condiment-related crimes of the same sort. Joy L. Cassidy was arrested Sunday at the library, moments after police say she pulled through the outside drive-through and dumped an open jar of mayonnaise in the box designated for reading materials. Cassidy has been released from the county jail and faces a misdemeanor charge of malicious injury to property. A motive was not disclosed by police. Boise police say Cassidy is under investigation for at least 10 similar cases of vandalism since May 2009. Library employees have reported finding books in the drop box covered in corn syrup and ketchup.

Lock your cars

This came from reader Nate Bartlett, Friday June 11: “I got home late last night from a school function and forgot to lock my truck, I went to leave this morning and someone had stolen my silver iPod classic that has over 12,000 songs on it, and its charger. I live on Hatch just past 41st.  I park in the alley there near my garage between Hatch and Scott. They didn’t take anything else, just looked through all of the stuff I have in my truck. Anyways, I know that it’s my own fault to forget to lock my truck, but it still makes me crazy that someone took my music.”

Have you ever had your car broken into in the South Perry neighborhood? When did it happen and what was stolen?

‘Judge Judy’ spot leads to more charges

An appearance on the TV reality show “Judge Judy” has brought a Spokane man more than just 15 minutes of syndicated fame.  Joshua J. Mulvey, 26, now faces new criminal charges in an Internet fraud scheme after a Snohomish County man who saw the episode recognized Mulvey as the same person who conned him out of $2,500 last year, police say. Mulvey was arrested at a Coeur d’Alene motel in February. Detectives used a cell phone tower ping triggered by Mulvey’s mobile phone to trace him to the Lake City after they say he escaped from his Spokane apartment during a raid. Read more about the latest twist in the case, and see a video of his Judge Judy appearance, here.

Question: Do you know someone who has ever been on a courtroom TV show? Or any reality TV show?

Burglary on South Hatch

Via e-mail from COPS volunteer and neighborhood ‘crime hound’ Sue Hille:
“Around midnight Saturday 5/15 there was a break-in and burglary on the 600 block of South Hatch. The residents came home to find the door kicked in. Police were called to investigate. Some things were taken, mostly stuff that’s small and easy to carry.
It’s a good idea to take pictures frequently of things in your home to help remember what you had in case of a burglary.
Also, give one copy of those pictures to a friend or relative to keep for you in case of a fire. Alarm systems can be pricy, but do help. Renter’s insurance is not terribly expensive and really a good idea.
The good news is that we have some really great new neighbors buying, living and raising food and families in the area.”

I couldn’t agree more, Sue. My house was burglarized some years back, I lost a lot of things, new and old, and it took me forever to come up with a complete list of what I was missing as I kept remembering things. It’s also a good idea to make an effort to get to know your neighbors, chat a little and share phone numbers.
 

 

Wasden to Senate committee: Crime, violence in Mexico affects states including Idaho

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law yesterday, and had an interesting story to tell about how Idaho has a stake in establishing a system in Mexico that relies on the rule of law. Wasden’s been active on the issue through a partnership of attorneys general that promotes cross-border law enforcement cooperation and is assisting the government of Mexico in reforming its court system; the Idaho Statesman’s Erika Bolstad covered the AG’s testimony and has a full story here. “There’s a parade of drugs that are coming north, and there’s a parade of guns and money that is going south,” Wasden said.

Arson in the neighborhood?

Read Kevin Graman’s story about the Saturday morning fire at the HiFumi En Apartments on East Eighth here. There has been two other suspected arson fires at the HiFumi En lately - and residents still can’t return.