The increased foot patrols downtown by Bend Police officers appears to be serving their purpose.
Bend Police are reporting a significant reduction in crime and police calls over the last two years between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the peak summer period for trouble downtown and near Drake Park.
“In 2016, the Bend Police Department working with the Downtown Association identified an increase in crimes and associated disruptive behavior that was significantly impacting the livability and overall family atmosphere in our Downtown area to include Drake Park and Mirror Pond parking lots,” said Lt. Juli McConkey. “The Police Department was given permission to increase staffing and then used that staff to help targeted areas of high police calls and crimes, increased foot patrols, and worked closely with downtown merchants as a team to improve the downtown area. This proactive policing model approached increased traffic stops by 14.4% and increased Community Enhancement Program downtown time by 7.8%.
According to a report released Tuesday by Bend Police:
- Calls for unwanted subjects decreased 20.9%
- Trespassing calls decreased by 53%
- Intoxicated subjects calls for service decreased 45.7%,
- Animal control complaints decreased 19%,
- Assault and dispute calls combined decreased 40%.
- Theft calls decreased by 59.6%
- Mental health calls decreased by 38%
“The results in the decrease in all aspects of crimes in the Downtown, Drake Park and Mirror Pond parking lots were better than what we anticipated,” McConkey told Central Oregon Daily. “We knew that the ‘feel’ of Downtown has improved over the last three years and the decrease in livability crimes support that. The increased police presence deters people from committing crimes, that is evident in the statistics. Also, it is important to have officers who are available, helpful, and approachable that can solve problems when they are occurring.”
The Police Department, The City of Bend City Council, City of Bend staff and the Downtowners Association, the Bend Parks and Recreation District collaborated to help make our downtown area more family friendly,” McConkey said. “The Bend Police Department is very appreciative of the support we receive from our community members and partners to help in the success of making our downtown area family friendly and a place that continues to be visited by many.”