Overall Crime Down In Pullman: Police Department Releases 2015 Annual Report

They have a category “Crimes Against Society”. These are “crimes” that hurt no one but the individual himself, but it’s a crime nevertheless. You’ll have to read to the end to see what it is. 

Crimes against people, property and society declined in Pullman between 2014-15, according the Pullman Police Department’s 2015 Annual Report.

While overall crime declined, the report included a single murder – the only homicide listed in the eight years included in the report – and an uptick in embezzlements and drug offenses.

Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said he doesn’t place much stock in numbers, but he’s happy to take the results as a whole, and he is particularly pleased with the results of investigations into the most serious incidents, listed both on the report and separately with a narrative.

“They’re significant but not over the top,” he said. “And they are so few – that’s important.”

Tennant also said the majority of those significant incidents ended with a closed investigation.


Those events included the Jan. 10, 2015, chase and arrest of Moscow shooter John Lee, who fled through Pullman after shooting to death his adoptive mother, Terri Grzebielski, 61; his landlord, David Trail, 76; and Arby’s Restaurant manager Belinda Neibuhr, 47.

Lee was spotted in downtown Pullman by a Pullman officer, who followed him before attempting to stop him on Davis Way, when the high pursuit began. Lee was eventually arrested by Pullman police after crashing his car near Colfax.

Another significant event listed is the May 30, 2015, murder of Virgil C. Luden, 58, by his son Erik Luden, who was convicted of second-degree murder.

The list also included two assaults with a knife, five incidents involving threats, robberies or attempted robberies with firearms, and four serious alcohol-involved falls on the Washington State University. Also on the list were the Planned Parenthood arson – still an active investigation – and a fatality collision on Albion Road.

Offenses against property, which include burglary, car theft, larceny, theft and vandalism, were down 3 percent since 2014. The most significant declines were in larceny – which declined from 400 offenses in 2014 to 236 in 2015, a difference of 164 reported offenses – and burglary, down by 76 reported offenses.

Crimes against persons declined from 57 percent of all reported crimes in 2014 to 44 percent in 2015. The most reported crime was assault, which declined from 291 incidents in 2014 to 219 in 2015 and forcible sex offenses, which declined by more than half from 25 reports in 2014 to 12 in 2015.

Tennant said he doesn’t believe the sexual assaults themselves have declined, only the number of assaults reported.

“Back in 2014 we had a pretty big push by the university to get people to report sex crimes,” he said. “I would say only about 10 percent are reported.”

In 2015, crimes against society took the majority with 50 percent of reports, down from 64 percent in 2014. The highest number of reports in this category are drug offenses which, at 86 reports, were up from 79 in 2014. Weapons violations followed with 14 reports. The final three reports included two involving pornography and a case of bribery.

Tennant said he’s happy with the report overall, as the information included in it can be a benefit to the Pullman community.

“It can give them a feeling we’re a pretty safe community,” he said.