January 17, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 39

Medical Lake crime drops in 2012

Overall crime went down in 2012 for Medical Lake, according to Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich at the Tuesday, Jan. 15 Medical Lake City Council meeting.

The city saw 604 total responses last year, down from 633 in 2011.

Knezovich did have a concern with the amount of violent crimes taking place in the city.

“The only part that has me a little concerned about the report I’m giving tonight is that yes, crime is down. But Medical Lake seems to have a little more of the violent crime side of the coin,” he said.

A large portion of that, however, can be attributed to the number of assault calls coming from state facilities like Lakeland Village and Eastern State Hospital.

The Sheriff’s Office is currently working to separate the state calls from those that originate with private residents.

There have been some concerns recently as the cost of the contract with the county has gone up for Medical Lake. Knezovich said they are currently reviewing the location of calls, as any from a state facility in Medical Lake are billed to the city. State facilities must report any and all assault situations, no matter the scale, contributing to the amount that Medical Lake is billed for police services.

“The more work we do for you, the more money it costs. And it shouldn’t work that way,” he said.

The city of Lakewood, Wash., receives line item status in the state budget, providing funds to mitigate calls coming from state facilities. City Administrator Doug Ross said amounts of $200,000 for the police department and $300,000 for the fire department are regular sights. Medical Lake receives $50,000 for fire calls only.

While the city was still reeling from Sunday’s vandalizing of Lake City Assembly of God, Knezovich did offer some good news.

“We’ve got the person who damaged and burglarized the church. He’s in custody right now,” he said.

He said the 23-year-old male had given a full confession and directed officers to the stolen property from Sunday’s break-in. Knezovich said as of Tuesday, based on the man’s confession, it was just him involved in the crime. It also wasn’t a gang-related crime.

“We know our hot spot here,” Knezovich said.

The first reading of an ordinance to increase the property tax revenue line item in the 2013 budget passed. Finance Director Jennifer Hough said the state projected an increase in property tax revenue based on higher than anticipated property valuations. The total amount will increase by $5,212.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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