Spokane County Sheriff's Crime & Safety Tips

Prevention is Key

My name is Deputy David Morris. I have been a Deputy Sheriff in Spokane County since 1994. I have worked patrol for most of that time, but I’ve done many other assignments too. Currently I’m in a position called Crime Prevention. In this position I do community outreach, teaching citizens, and helping neighborhoods. I am on the board of directors for the Washington State Crime Prevention Association. You can get more information about the services I can provide YOU by searching for “Spokane Sheriff Crime Prevention Unit.” On to my message...

Prevention is the key. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In modern law enforcement and forensics, we have become extremely effective at gathering evidence and processing crime scenes. Reality may not ever catch up with what happens on TV shows, but law enforcement can do amazing things to catch criminals. We catch them and prosecute them, and that is praiseworthy! However, most people agree it is best if crimes can be prevented so there are fewer crime victims. Nobody wants to be a crime victim!

Prevention has been the watch-word in some very important professions. Medicine, dentistry, fire science and auto manufacturing. Doctors will advise you on how to prevent heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Dentists exhort you to brush and floss daily to avoid tooth decay and gum disease. Fire scientists have lobbied for laws that require fire-retardant materials, and fire suppression systems become a mandatory part of any new construction. Automobile manufacturers are making cars that detect objects in your path, or near your path to alert drivers and even apply braking before the driver knows about the hazard.

In law enforcement, we have taken a cue from doctors, dentists, engineers, and yes, even FIREFIGHTERS!  (I enjoy poking fun at my brothers and sisters in red, but believe me, I love them and I am thankful for them!) The Spokane Sheriff has had dedicated, full-time deputies assigned to crime prevention duties for over forty years. It has been my privilege to undertake that duty since 2015, and I am very proud to do it. If I can help you avoid being a victim of crime, then I will have done my duty!

Here are a few things for you to think about:

Some criminals are predators, but most are opportunists. They move about in our community looking for opportunities to commit crimes where they think they have a good chance to get away with it. There are many easy targets, so the best thing you can do is make yourself, your home, and your vehicles hard targets.

Lock-up and close-up. Keep your doors and windows closed and locked, even when you are home. I strongly suggest that if you have a screen door to your home you keep it locked in addition to using the other locks on your doors. Keep your garage door closed unless you have line of sight to your garage. It takes less than a minute for a person strolling by to walk into an open garage door and grab some valuables (tools, bikes etc.) and leave. If they act casual, no one suspects a thing.

Car security is especially important this time of year if you enjoy our local hiking and biking trails. Make sure your car is locked and ALL VALUABLES are OUT OF SIGHT before you walk away from your car. Consider putting your valuables in the trunk BEFORE you park there. Sometimes thieves will watch the parking lot and they see you put the expensive items in the trunk. Once you’re gone they can smash your window and access your trunk. This is not just for parking at trailheads, anytime you park your car make sure it is locked and ALL VALUABLES are OUT OF SIGHT! This is the most common type of theft and this is why Spokane has earned a reputation for high property crimes.

Watch your surroundings. Pay attention to what people around you are doing, and if it looks suspicious, call 911.  You don’t have to wait until someone is being shot or stabbed to call 911 and don’t worry about “bothering us!”  We want you to call, and I urge you to trust your instincts! If it doesn’t look right or feel right, get yourself to safety and call 911.  

Did you know in Spokane County you can send text messages to 911?  They will not only receive your message, they will respond back to you. This is a slow and cumbersome process, so it is not as good as calling, but if you can’t talk due to safety reasons, or don’t have strong enough cell service for a phone call, you can text 911 with confidence.

Before I finish this message, I want to say a word of thanks. Many times, I am gratified and impressed by the number of citizens in our community who support safety and the well-being of others. Many people are stepping up and getting Neighborhood Watch groups started. If you want to learn how to start a Neighborhood Watch, you can contact Venus Delcambre-Morris at 477-3055, or vdelcambremorris@spokanecounty.org

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE CAN BE DIRECTED TO DEPUTY David Morris OF THE CRIME PREVENTION UNIT OF THE SPOKANE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: DWMorris@SpokaneSheriff.org

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