As Police Budgets Shrink, Responding To Car Thefts Becomes Diffi - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

As Police Budgets Shrink, Responding To Car Thefts Becomes Difficult

Posted: Updated:

SPOKANE, Wash. – In this strapped economy, budgets for local law enforcement agencies are getting chopped, meaning unsafe staffing levels, and fewer resources to respond to car thefts and break-ins.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office has lost 36 deputies in the last three years, and if the budget picture doesn't change, it may lose another 6 by the end of this year.

The Spokane Police Department is not faring much better.  KHQ learned today it's short 70 officers compared to recommended ‘safe' staffing levels for a city this size.

A situation that won't change until the mayor allocates for funding, and the city council approves it.

The lack of manpower is putting things like property crimes and car break-ins on the back burner for investigators, because they're overloaded with work and simply don't have the resources they need.

In just a week's time earlier this month, almost 100 calls to Spokane Police came in of car break-ins or thefts.  Most times, victims are asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233, but an officer will rarely respond, and people are frustrated.

"I've known a few people to get their laptops and bikes stolen, some right out of their cars, some just right out in front of a coffee shop or bar," said Jeremy Clark, who lives in Browne's Addition.  "We actually had a friend up on the North side, she had her car broken into 3 times in one week."

Saturday night, the surveillance cameras outside the KHQ studios in downtown Spokane even caught two suspects on camera, as they keyed a parked car on Sprague then slashed its tires.

It's just another example of the prevalence of such crimes. 

Still, Spokane Police tell KHQ if you're a victim of a car crime, still call Crime Check to file a report.  Even if an officer can't respond, they say it's still important to identify crime trends in certain neighborhoods.  If they see a spike in a concentrated area, police have a better chance of catching the crooks behind it.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • VIRAL VIDEO: Dog passes out from overwhelming joy at owners return

    VIRAL VIDEO: Dog passes out from overwhelming joy at owners return

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:26:12 GMT
    KHQ.COM - A woman who left her dog in the care of friends while she moved away for two years, got an unexpected and heart melting reaction from her little schnauzer, Casey, when she returned. This video has gone viral since it was posted July 24th with over 17 million views as of July 28th.>>
    KHQ.COM - A woman who left her dog in the care of friends while she moved away for two years, got an unexpected and heart melting reaction from her little schnauzer, Casey, when she returned. This video has gone viral since it was posted July 24th with over 17 million views as of July 28th.>>