Spokane, Wash. is considering giving for downtown businesses that make security improvements.
According to a news report, the proposal would encourage property owners to work with the Downtown Spokane Partnership and Spokane police to develop a plan to increase lighting and visibility in an effort to combat crime. A participating business would purchase the cameras or make suggested landscaping and architectural changes, then receive a dollar-for-dollar discount on the annual fee they pay to do business downtown.
The plan has the backing of both City Council members representing downtown, the report says, as well as the partnership, which collects annual fees totaling more than $1 million to fund services that include street cleaning, event support and security. If the full City Council approves the plan, $26,000 will be made available to downtown property owners to support security efforts.
The proposal offers some examples of CPTED techniques that either the Downtown Spokane Partnership or Spokane police could provide to a property owner seeking assistance, the report notes. "One of two certified downtown ambassadors from the partnership, or a police officer, would provide options that the owner could choose from for reimbursement after an on-site visit. Suggestions include more lighting in cavernous entryways, trimming landscaping to improve sightlines, and cameras," the report says.
Downtown boosters and business owners pushed back on the perception of downtown as dangerous, and actual crime statistics support that finding. The police department’s CompStat reports, comparisons of reported crimes to historical data, show that property crime reports in the downtown core are down 23 percent this year compared to last year, fueled in large part by a drop in theft. Spokane did just experience a historically cold and snowy February, however, which can have a chilling effect on crime.
In addition, says the report, downtown malicious mischief incidents, which incorporate graffiti, broken windows and any other destruction of property, are also down this year compared to 2017 and 2018, according to numbers provided by the police department. Through the first three months of the past two years, reports of malicious mischief totaled 101 and 146, respectively. This year, there had been 60 such reports through March 16.