SPOKANE, Wash – Being targeted by criminals once is bad enough. But one Spokane man, Steve Hayes, has been targeted three times.
"It's frustrating because we work hard, and it seems like nothing's being done," Hayes told KHQ.
A few years ago, Hayes' truck was stolen. Then, in broad daylight, brazen burglars kicked in his apartment door and stole $7,000 worth of items while he was gone – including Christmas presents and a TV – but that wasn't all.
His military medals, childhood photos, and things belonging to his late father were also stolen.
"I think the biggest thing was some of my dad's stuff, and he's gone, and I'll never be able to replace that stuff," he added.
As if that weren't enough, Monday evening, someone smashed the back window in his new truck. Nothing was stolen; it was simply a senseless act of vandalism.
"It's like being violated," Hayes said.
It's a problem the new Spokane Chief of Police has to address, and he agrees.
"To have somebody come in to your house or apartment and invade your space I think is really an attack on a person," Chief Frank Straub told KHQ.
Prior to Straub joining the force, the Property Crimes Unit was disbanded. When asked if he would bring it back, Straub implied he doesn't need to.
"I think the public has to understand that property crime enforcement and property crime investigations have not stopped," he said.
Just the opposite, Straub told KHQ. He says Spokane Police is aggressively going after property crime, and we'll see more targeted enforcement in 2013. Right now, officers are working on cases of crimes committed against the elderly, fraud investigations, and, yes, burglaries.
"Just because you don't have a unit in name doesn't mean you're not doing that work," he added. "Maybe sometimes when you don't have a unit in name it spreads that work to the whole organization, which is where I think it should be."
If you're ever a victim of property crime, here's what you need to know: call police and file a report. Even if an officer doesn't respond, the PD needs to know about it to better track crime trends and fight property crimes.
"I apologize at this juncture for maybe not always being able to get a police officer there," Chief Straub said. "But I will assure the public, every bit of information that comes in is usable data for us to eventually solve a crime."
As for Steve Hayes, he has a camera posted at home now that sends real-time pictures to his camera, so even when he's not home, he's still watching.
"If you're out there doing it, be aware, there's cameras now," he said.