An in-depth review of 2013 crime trends on the Palouse

MOSCOW, ID - As we dive into a new year, KLEW News decided to take a look at crime on the Palouse in 2013.

Reporter Rachel Dubrovin spoke with leaders from the Moscow and Pullman Police Departments to find out what kind of trends appeared over the course of the year.

Looking back on 2013, police in Pullman said the most significant change was in drug related crimes.

"Our drug enforcement has reduced quite a bit in 2013," said Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant. "And you can look at I-502, or the legalization of marijuana as a big player in that."

Tennant said in 2012, the department had 120 incidences relating to controlled substances. That number dropped to about 30 for the first three quarters of 2013. Commander Tennant said the legalization of marijuana can prevent officers from making more serious drug arrests.

"Traditionally, marijuana smell was the trigger to get a search warrant for an apartment or a vehicle or something along those lines," said Tennant. "And then we would find you know, heroin, and cocaine, and adderall, and these types of things."

Commander Tennant said overall, the number of crimes reported in Pullman dropped by more than ten-percent between 2012 and 2013. He said the city's budget cuts to the police department could have been a factor.

"We do have two less officers in the field, so officer initiated type of activity, such as alcohol related incidents and DUI's are also down," said Tennant.

Over in Moscow, Police saw a similar trend.

"Crimes against society, which is related to drug arrest and alcohol are down for 2013," said Moscow Police Chief David Duke.

Duke said crimes of that nature dropped about 20% in 2013. He said Washington's Initiative 502 hasn't had a significant effect on Moscow yet, but that could change in 2014.

"We'll see what happens once retail and wholesale is defined and legalized, then we'll see how it affects our community," said Duke.

Chief Duke said the most significant crimes of 2013 were the armed robbery in September and homicide in November. But other than that, he said Moscow continues to be a relatively safe community.

"Be our eyes and ears, and call in anything that's suspicious to them," said Duke.

Police in both Moscow and Pullman said one of their most common crimes are vehicle prowls, so be sure to keep those doors locked.

Both the Moscow and Pullman Police Departments are still waiting on the crime statistics from the last quarter of 2013. Those reports should be available in a few weeks.