Eugene police see slight crime increase during 2012

EUGENE, Ore. -- Police saw a slight increase in crime around Eugene over the last year, Police Chief Pete Kerns said during the annual report on crime stats for person, property and behavior crimes for 2012.

Traffic-related crimes rose, with officers making 1,780 more uniformed citations last year.

"We made 108 more DUII arrests last year than we did in previous years," said Chief Kerns.

Property crimes like burglary and arson still prove to be a problem area, accounting for the biggest jump in crime.

Police officials said that taking a proactive approach to behavior crimes like prostitution and drug abuse made for a significant drop in 2012.

Officers have seen a slight increase in person crimes, with the largest being a 14 percent jump in robberies since 2011.

"We can say with confidence that a number of those are directly associated to the lack of jail beds we experienced last year," Chief Kerns said. "(Even so), the Lane County District Attorney is prosecuting 25 percent fewer felony offenders now than they did before July of last year."

Chief Kerns said that makes it difficult for the DA's Office to hold some offenders, like street level drug dealers, accountable for their crimes.

The department used the annual crime report to announce some changes for this year, including giving body cameras to officers without patrol cars. The cameras will record the events of an arrest, providing stronger evidence in court.

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