‘There is a fear now that once was not there’: Community concerned about recent car break-ins

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Police say there’s been a 39% decrease in car thefts from 2017 to 2021, but one neighborhood is still feeling the stress of break-ins.

Aman Turna has lived in Westwood Hill for over 20 years. She’s loved the area and has always felt safe.

“Sometimes, our garage would be left open,” she said. “That’s just how secure and safe we have felt throughout the years in this neighborhood, but not so much anymore.”

Her brother died recently, and Aman and her mom didn’t want to touch many of the special items inside the vehicle. It didn’t fit in their garage, so they kept the truck parked outside on the driveway.

“I know it’s not smart to leave personal belongings in a vehicle, but their placing was very special to my mom and so she didn’t want them touched,” Turna said.

Someone smashed the back passenger window and stole her brother’s BB gun and backpack out of the truck. Now, she says the neighborhood feels different, and she’s concerned about everyone’s safety.

“There is a fear now that once was not there, about coming home to a place that you should feel safe that you no longer do,” she said.

Turna also says another one of her friends who lives nearby had their vehicles broken into twice and another friend saw someone snooping around the vehicles parked outside. So far, they haven’t been able to find the person or people responsible. Turna has now taken everything out of her late brother’s truck, installed a security system and cameras.

Stephen Anderson, an Officer with the Spokane Police Department, says thieves see cars as a crime of opportunity.

“Folks will try door handles, just walk through neighborhoods to try and gain access to loose change or anything they see lying around in a car.”

There are some simple steps you can take to mitigate your chances of being a victim:

  • Make sure to lock your car
  • Park somewhere well lit if you can’t park in a garage
  • Put a steering wheel lock on your car
  • Make sure nothing is laying around on seats

As temperatures heat up this summer, Anderson says rolling up your windows is still the best bet to lessen your chances of a break-in.