Chief Garry Neighbors Create Block Watch After Burglary Spree - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Chief Garry Neighbors Create Block Watch After Burglary Spree

SPOKANE, Wash. - Tamara Murray isn't standing by any longer. This week, she is helping spearhead a block watch program in her neighborhood of Chief Garry Park after thieves brazenly kicked-in doors and broke into at least half a dozen homes in the past few weeks.

"There is desperate need for a block watch in this neighborhood at this point," Murray said.

Murray believed many of her neighbors were not aware of the recent crime trends. Spokane Police crime analysts announced on Friday that they'd noticed clusters of burglaries in that area in recent weeks. Crooks kicked-in Veronica Evans and Carl Coate's door recently, ransacked their home, and stole several valuables inside including an X-Box and jewelry.

On Saturday, Evans and Coate installed a new, stronger security door but without a Spokane Police property crimes investigations unit, Evans and others believe home security measures are not enough to thwart future crimes.

"In a way, there is some concern about what's being done and are they going to investigate these crimes?" Murray said.

Now, Murray and Evans are encouraging those in the Chief Garry Park community to come together to set up neighborhood patrols, photograph possible suspects, and make note of anything suspicious. Murray said she is collecting phone numbers and emails to establish a block watch captain on every street.

"Neighbors watching each other is going to help reduce the crime," Murray said.

On Monday, Spokane Police spokesperson Teresa Fuller said there had not been any new reports of burglaries over the weekend.

JOINING THE CHIEF GARRY PARK BLOCK WATCH: If you'd like to join the neighborhood block watch, email neighbor Tamara Murray at tmurrayma@yahoo.com.

 

STATEMENT FROM SPOKANE POLICE ABOUT CHIEF GARRY PARK BURGLARIES (released Friday):

Recently, there have been a number of burglaries in the Chief Garry Park neighborhood. The Spokane Police Department is aware of this string of incidents, due to analysis of police reports as well as neighbors reporting additional details to officers attending the neighborhood council meetings. Crime analysis first noticed several ...small clusters of burglaries late last week, and the police department was also contacted by a representative of the neighborhood council. At that time, the nature and number of incidents were overshadowed by several other heavier trends. Additionally, there did not appear to be a great deal of actionable intelligence upon which to focus resources. However, several arrests of prolific offenders connected to that neighborhood were made by proactive units, though not on specifically related charges. "Frequently, we find that a small number of very busy criminals commit a large percentage of property crime here in Spokane," says SPD Crime Analyst Tom Michaud. "Sometimes we are able to arrest these criminals on outstanding warrants or other charges unrelated to a specific crime trend, but we then discover that they were likely involved in that trend because we see the trend decline shortly after after their incarceration." One of the suggestions made by Major Frank Scalise to the neighborhood council representative was to consider organizing a Block Watch. "Neighbors watching out for neighbors is a strong deterrent to crime," he said. "It also has the additional benefit of getting information about criminal activity to officers earlier in a crime trend or series, which allows us to deploy resources sooner and interrupt the trend before further neighbors are victimized." "We're still looking at this trend and welcome any further information," says Michaud. "Whenever we can develop intelligence that can helps put officers in the right place at the right time to catch the bad guy, that's a win." The Spokane Police Department will continue to work on this and other crime trends throughout our city. Citizens are encouraged to report all crimes and suspicious activity to 911 or Crime Check. While the police department must prioritize our response due to limited resources, we will continually strive to focus on the crime trends that affect our community.

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