Some data on west of campus crime trends, relevant to budget crisis

President Schill has decided to protect the UOPD from his budget cuts, arguing that as the Eugene PD tries to clean up downtown the “bad actors” are moving closer to campus and our students need protection. But the data (limited) shows a 21% decrease in reported incidents since 2016. If you start in 2016 there is no clear trend for serious crime reports. If you start in 2017 they have also decreased, by 38%.

From: Senate President [mailto:senatepres@uoregon.edu
Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 10:11 PM
To: Mike H Schill <mschill@uoregon.edu>; Matthew Carmichael <mecarmic@uoregon.edu>
Subject: crime wave data
 
Dear President Schill and Chief Carmichael – 
 
Having now heard several administrators repeat President Schill’s statements about a west campus crime wave, I started to wonder if there was any actual data on this. 
 
As it happens the EPD website allows for rudimentary searches of their dispatch log, at http://coeapps.eugene-or.gov/EPDDispatchLog/Search
 
Because the EPD webpage requires a street name, I focused on incidents with an address that included E 13th Ave, since this seems to be where the “bad actors” like to hang out. I searched for incidents reported from January 1 to March 19th for the years 2016 – 2019. The files are attached. They include everything from the trivial on up, so in addition to total incidents I looked for thefts and assaults. I found:
 
2016: 190 incidents, 11 thefts, 4 assaults
2017: 198 incidents, 11 thefts, 11 assaults
2018: 163 incidents, 11 thefts, 5 assaults
2019: 149 incidents, 15 thefts, 0 assaults
 
Obviously these data are limited, but they don’t seem consistent with a crime wave. If you have any additional data regarding trends in west campus crime I’d appreciate it if you’d share that with me.  
 
Thanks,
 
Bill Harbaugh
UO Senate Pres, Econ Prof

Chief Carmichael’s response is posted on the Senate website. He does not dispute the data above showing what could arguably be called a decrease. He does not provide any time-series data at all. This is weird, because this sort of data analysis has been the hallmark of good policing since maps with pins, and then the 1990’s CompStat.

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15 Responses to Some data on west of campus crime trends, relevant to budget crisis

  1. Gina Psaki says:

    I remember the UO Senate being told in 2012 by provost and Public Safety that this new PD was going to save us BAGS of money each year. How’s that been working out, I wonder?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I bet they pay more annually in SUV maintenance and gas, while idling out by the river and other prime secluded off campus spots, than what was paid to the EPD. This of course pales in comparison to the actual SUV, gun, and bullet (Barney Fife) budget.

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      • apt says:

        Yes I tend to see UOPD consistently outside their area of operation given that they are a campus pd. I’m sure the chief et al., will justify their expansive reach somehow (crime wave!!), but ultimately, they’re just upping their stats to make them seem more relevant.

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        • Dave says:

          University police departments typically have jurisdiction not only of university property, but in adjoining neighborhoods, and in areas where students tend to frequent. It’s not a novel concept.

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    • Fishwrapper says:

      All that I ever saw as a result was a bowl. Not a bag.

      And not of money.

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  2. Dog says:

    prorated for the year
    the 2019 theft data would predict about 45

    and that is way high

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    • Prorated says:

      Dog: “I searched for incidents reported from January 1 to March 19th for the years 2016 – 2019.”

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  3. Dog says:

    Ah, don’ we just need to Build a Big Wall at the West of Campus
    to keep all those “bad actors” out.

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  4. Anonymouzzzzzzz says:

    Some of the difference between 2018 and 2019 might come from the week of snow we had in 2019. If you exclude that week, the incidence rate are quite similar.

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  5. Shared Sacrifices says:

    Why begrudge UOPD or athletics being immune to campus wide budget cuts? Instead, why no post about Schill announcement that he’ll be accepting a 3% cut in his salary as a sign of shared sacrifice?

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    • New Year Cat says:

      To quote (or possibly mis-quote) Dog, “yeah, that’ll happen”….

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  6. Dave says:

    I don’t see anyone with measles around here, so let’s not vaccinate anymore! (Same logic as displayed here)

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  7. John Holmes says:

    How many ride alongs you ever go on Bill? I’m sure that bubble from your office to the faculty club, and back to your house isn’t really a crime ridden journey. Maybe you should try seeing what’s lurking around 16th and Mill at 2 a.m. before you make such educated statements

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    • uomatters says:

      I am pretty sure that there is no police practice that could possibly have less impact on crime rates than inviting professors to go for ride-alongs.

      What these ride-alongs do is build people’s understanding of the difficult job that police have, and give the police a chance to lobby for a bigger budget. I am very sympathetic of the difficult job that police have and I understand that a bigger budget will make it easier. But other people at UO also have difficult jobs, and when they want a bigger budget, they have to – or should have to – use data to argue for it, not scare stories.

      The police practice that has apparently reduced crime is data-driven policing, such as NYC’s CompStat. So I was very surprised to see from Chief Carmichael’s report to the Senate that there’s no evidence he has adopted this well established practice. And no evidence that President Schill asked Carmichael for data, before deciding to protect the UOPD budget from the cuts that other OAs and staff are facing.

      Fortunately, west campus crime rates seem to be falling anyway.

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