Mackenzie Priest knows a thing or two about crime in the South University Neighborhood.
“Crime is a big issue in this neighborhood that needs to be stopped. Both myself and many of my friends have gotten their cars broken into which is very scary,” she said.
Car thefts and other types of crimes happen frequently in this neighborhood and students want it to stop. Several residents in the area like Priest and Emily King are calling for measures to curb crimes that would allow them to once again feel safe in their own homes.
The Eugene Police Department has a property crimes unit that investigates crimes like residential and commercial burglaries and auto theft cases but it may not be enough. According to the Eugene Police Department annual person, property, and behavior crimes report released in 2013 the amount of thefts and burglary have risen since 2011 in Eugene.
Mackenzie Priest, 21, lives in the Capri Woodside Manor apartment complex in the neighborhood and described her experience with crime in her neighborhood. Her car was broken into twice this past year when parked in her parking structure. The first time she went out to her car at around 9 a.m. to find her car doors shimmied open and her GPS system stolen. The second time her car was broken into during the daytime and all her belongings were thrown on the ground. The experience made her feel “strange and violated knowing that someone was going through my things,” she said.
Emily King’s boyfriend resides in the South University neighborhood and has also had major issues with crime. Her boyfriend had his car vandalized with a brick and was left with a large dent in the vehicle and a lot of anger. The incident occurred last term when they approached his car in the morning, saw the brick, and realized there was damage to the vehicle. This left him frustrated since it was the fourth time his car had been damaged or broken into.
Car thefts, vandalism, and break-ins are common in the South University neighborhood and residents have become tired of the lack of concern from their landlords and response from the police. After Priest had her car broken into the first time she brought up the issue with her landlord, who did nothing, and her car was vandalized again.
To Priest, if the building had been equipped with surveillance they would have been able to catch the culprit and Priest would feel safer about leaving her car overnight. When asked about how crime could be reduced in the area King said, “I think his landlord should install security cameras, and Cody should get an alarm system.” Residents want to be able to park their cars in front of their own house or in their parking structure at night knowing that it won’t be wrecked the next morning.