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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Breaking rules: Why does this continue to happen?

By Nathan Burkart

By Nathan Burkart

My trust as well as my own safety have sure been rethought as I examine what takes place in my own hometown. Chillingly, trust may not be a viable way to think these days.

Taking a deep dive into what may currently be happening in Spokane, one may realize the city may not be the high-spirited of days past. Spokane, in most cases, has been a relatively mediocre city when it comes to crime rates, varying by where one may be located around town.

Just like most cities, it had its safe areas as well as its dangerous ones. This has still held true to an extent. The dangers may just be spreading as the years pass. According to Andrew Schiller of Neighborhood Scout, Spokane over recent years has now just become safer than only 3% of cities across Washington state. Alarmingly, the crime rate has gone up over 400% in just the past seven years.

I myself have noticed a change in my personal experiences recently. I am in my mid-teenage years and often spend my free time at night out in the city with my friends. Personally, I have been in the presence of multiple altercations with lethal weapons involved.

This was not a common sight for me three years ago. This could be down to coincidence and my level of conscience. But there is statistical data to show growth in crime.

Not only has violent crime been at an uproar, but theft has hit record rates as well. Car theft is one of the most notable. It was “found that Spokane has one of the highest rates of motor vehicle theft in the nation,” noted Schiller. This is something I have recently experienced firsthand. My father’s truck was stolen from the front of our house just two weeks ago. The crime is real.

On the other hand, people may have reasons that they could justify committing an array of crimes. People could say that when it comes to theft, individuals may steal to stay on their feet. People wrestling with poverty may fall to theft to make a quick profit in hopes of gaining some stability to get back to where they once were.

Though some could say people steal for a positive reason, the Spokane Municipal Code still states otherwise. No matter what reason, theft is still illegal and violates Spokane’s security.

Spokane does currently have a crime prevention unit, which according to Spokane County, “consists of two deputies and the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator.” This unit is designed to educate the general public and deter people from continuing with a crime-filled lifestyle. This program is free of charge to the public. This alone does not stop individuals with a crime-set lifestyle, but rather informs individuals about what consequences their actions may bring. I personally believe this is useful but in itself, is just not enough to stop the criminal activity from climbing.

Personally, more law enforcement in areas that statistically have more criminal activity makes sense. The only drawback is the safety of our officers – something often overlooked. The men and women in blue risk so much for our safety and security. They should be celebrated not dismantled. As a teen enjoying some downtown fun with friends from time to time, our officers’ presence is essential.

Thinking outside the box, I believe alarms or sirens could be mounted to telephone poles, and transformers could be a viable option. This allows for attention to be drawn when criminal activity is active. This in turn would offer additional witnesses that might otherwise not get involved to protect their own safety and the security of others as well. It might be a new look at updated Block Watch.

Everyone has their own struggles, especially as we fight our way out of a pandemic. Let’s all be cognizant of that as well as the dire need to reclaim our city’s security.

Spokane, please stay safe.