Thursday, December 17, 2009

lets lower crime in Eugene by adding more private security guards

The Register Guard --

The "Downtown Safety Task Team" committee in which city officials formed in October after a homeless man was attacked and set on fire in downtown Eugene amid the dismay of area merchants, residents about public drunkenness, panhandling, drug dealing, vandalism and other crime are recommending more officers and jail time for offenders.

The committee, which consists downtown business owners, people connected with the arts, a nonprofit group, a downtown resident and a juvenile counselor [sounds like the beginning of a TV sitcom] are recommending assigning more officers to the downtown area, including at night when the area's numerous bars are open is on the committee's highest priority.

The second highest parity was to develop a "comprehensive, collaborative approach" to area crime, partly by changing the way private security firms operate downtown. The red capped downtown Eugene Inc. guides and different security firms that were downtown could better share information with each other and police.

Dave Hauser, president of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, which manages DEI, and a committee member, said the mentality among downtown security guards is that once a troublemaker leaves their area, “it’s somebody else’s problem.”

well duh! security guards getting paid minimum wage, what else do you expect them to do?

The committee also recommended placing parole and probation officers closer to the people that they oversee would help deter crime, for example they could be housed in a downtown police substation, which city officials want to build with Lane community college's proposed building.

Top five priorities of the Downtown Safety Task Team

More police officers downtown

Develop collaborative public-private approach for downtown security

Downtown-based parole and probation officers

More jail beds for downtown offenders

Improve downtown cleanliness

the first thing I like to address is the "red capped downtown guides" I have seen these people in my rare trips to Eugene downtown, and except for the red cap you have no idea who these guys are. In fact, I was kind of wondering if I should call the police myself on them when I've seen what looks like some types of weapons peering out from underneath their coats.

If these are so-called "guides" they are in the public interest, then unless I missed it, there should be some type of identification rather than just a red cap.

I've asked myself on many occasion, "who are these guys? street gang?

Secondly, like the old saying goes, "locking the barn after the horse got out", I applaud Chief Kerns for his efforts in forming the committee and I really do hope that they can find a way to solve Eugene's downtown problem. Unfortunately, I think it is going to take a little bit more than what the committee is proposing.

For example, I am not really a big fan of cameras in a public spaces unless the cameras are marked or identified as who the owner is, however in this situation it might not be a bad idea.

While cameras are not a solution, they might help as a deterrent. But then again, somehow you will have to bite the bullet and find some money for the cameras, installation, monitoring station and the personnel, etc.

which I will bet you could be found by better prioritizing the available money.

Like maybe, millions of dollars spent of the EmX boondoggle for starters?


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