ADT Eugene, Oregon

Crime Rates Are Falling in Eugene, Oregon, But Not Fast Enough For Some Residents
Eugene, Oregon is the second most populous city in the state after Portland. Located in Lane County near the southern tip of the Willamette Valley, it’s a beautiful place to live. The city’s slogan, ā€œA Great City for the Arts and Outdoors,ā€ perfectly describes its natural beauty and the creative drive of its inhabitants. In addition to boasting a vibrant community of artists, numerous farmers markets, and the world-renowned Oregon County Fair, Eugene is also home to several universities and community colleges. The University of Oregon, Northwest Christian University, Lane Community College, and several other institutions all regularly draw in new college-aged students. These students are just one demographic contributing to the city’s constant population growth. Census bureau statistics put its current population at a little bit over 150,000. In addition to contributing to population growth, the large influx of students also goes a long way toward explaining the city’s largely left-leaning politics. In January 2006, the city was home to the largest investigation into radical underground environmental groups, such as the Earth Liberation Front, in the country’s history. Several years of ongoing eco-terrorism trials followed, helping the city to earn a reputation as a central hub for anarchism in the U.S. This kind of extremism often leads to political upheaval, as was witnessed at the Occupy Eugene encampment several years ago. Its more benign counterparts help to balance out extremist groups in the from of community organizations dedicated to planting gardens and encouraging less extreme forms of ā€œgreen activism.ā€ Eugene is also home to several eco-villages and permaculture organizations. Although some of these activities leave locals feeling overwhelmed and concerned, crime statistics in the area paint a different picture. Although rates of both violent crime and property crime are still higher than state and national averages, overall, crime has been on the decline. This is partially thanks to the city’s numerous local and county law enforcement departments. The Eugene Police department, located near downtown at 788 W 6th Ave is in good company. The Eugene City Police Department, with an office on the north side of the Willamette River, and the University of Oregon Police Department, at 2141 E 15th Street, all collaborate to form quite the defense against crime. The Lane County Sheriff’s Department also has its headquarters near downtown at 125 E 8th Ave. As Eugene is a large metropolitan area, it is unlikely that crime rates will ever drop off to zero, but a combination of community awareness and heightened police presence go a long way toward discouraging criminals. Despite the overall decrease in crime, police urge residents, particularly those living around university areas, to be on guard. The holiday season often comes with an uptick in burglaries and other forms of property crime. The police cite an increased need for taking basic security measures, but some feel that ensuring that the doors and windows are locked, asking neighbors to keep an eye on the property over extended vacations, and ensuring that valuables are adequately secured and out of sight does not go far enough. Many have turned to more professional security measures, with great success. In July of this year, a burglar was caught and arrested one week after breaking into a home located in the River Road area. The police’s ability to provide such a quick response was partially due to the homeowner’s own diligence. She had installed security cameras on the premises, and subsequently caught the entire incident on tape. This footage played a large role in helping officers to apprehend the burglar. A string of burglaries committed in the area around the same time was determined not to be related, and no suspects have been apprehended thus far. In an interesting juxtaposition to this case, another woman caught a burglar in the act several months later. The suspect was apprehended after trying to run, crawling under the house, and throwing rocks at the police officers, who quickly responded to the woman’s call for help. Although the man was caught and taken into custody, his apprehension was due primarily to luck, rather than to the homeowner’s active vigilance. While violent crime rates have drastically fallen in recent years, rates of property crime have been decreasing at a slower rate. Projected data for 2016 estimates that 1,485 burglaries will have taken place by the end of the year. Similar data cites overall estimates of property crime as claiming over 7,000 victims by 2017. While increased police presence and improved response times and community relations may help account for drops in both violent and property crimes, there is another factor that helps to explain why burglaries are still so common. Drug abuse is one area of crime in the city that has not seen as much progress. Lane County is one of nine counties participating in Oregon’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program. This program, comprised of 40 local agencies, three state agencies, and eight federal agencies, has taken on the daunting task of addressing drug trafficking and other associated crimes in the area due to an abnormally high rate of drug abuse in Eugene and its suburbs. Areas with high levels of drug abuse are aso prone to higher levels of burglary and theft. As this task force begins to make progress in handling a fairly overwhelming problem, it’s likely that property crimes will begin to decrease at a steadier rate. In the meantime, it’s best for residents to err on the side of caution. Installing an alarm or surveillance system can help to ensure that residential homes and other properties are protected. A wide variety of national carriers offer service in the Eugene area. Two major security companies, Security Monster and Integrated Electronic Systems, offer a local alternative as well.