Theft crimes are the biggest challenge facing many Hood River neighborhoods.
But Community Resource Officer Aaron Jubitz believes that residents can lessen their chances of becoming a victim by adopting proactive tactics. He plans to discuss those strategies at a series of community meetings within the next two months.
“Just because Hood River is a rural area doesn’t mean that people don’t need to take certain precautions,” said Jubitz, who has spent the past year researching crime data.
He has compared that information among 10 zones that he mapped out in the city and identified the top law enforcement needs.
For example, Jubitz will inform citizens at the Zone 9 meeting on Tuesday that 16 percent of overall crime takes place in that area, one of the highest ratings in the city. He said there were 265 crimes committed within the last two years in the Heights commercial core and surrounding residential neighborhoods. Out of that total, 33 were thefts and an additional 32 involved vandalism. In addition, that sector of the city was recently hit hard by a rash of car prowls.
The July 9 meeting is the first of 10 forums planned through the end of August on advertised evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. in the municipal courtroom on the corner of Second and State Streets. Jubitz said the zoning meetings are intended to address individualized needs in each neighborhood but are open to all interested residents and business leaders.
On Thursday, a meeting will also be held on Zone 10, second lowest in crime during the past two years at 7 percent. However, 38 of the reported 116 crimes involved theft, followed by 13 incidents of criminal mischief. Zone 10 encompasses the Heights neighborhood surrounding the Hood River Shopping Center.
Zone 2 has also scored a top ranking with 16 percent of total crimes taking place within its borders. Within the past two years, there have been 264 crimes, 60 from theft and 35 involving criminal mischief. In addition, there were 28 DUII arrests, the largest number recorded anywhere in the city. That zone encompasses downtown Hood River and the meeting to address those problems will be on July 25.
Third place on the crime list was given to Zone 3 with an 11 percent ranking. According to Jubitz, there have been 169 crimes in the West Hood River business and residential areas, theft once again netting first with 35 cases, followed by 21 hit and run accidents. The meeting to discuss these incidents will be on July 30.
Criminal mischief accounted for 28 of the 138 crimes in Zone 4, which captured nine percent overall. The primarily residential neighborhoods surrounding Hood River Middle School had 14 cases involving theft and an equal 14 from motor vehicle accidents. The meeting for that zone will take place on Aug. 1.
Both Zone 1 and Zone 6 were tied for 8th place in total reported crime. Out of 126 incidents reported in Zone 1, 51 involved theft and 12 were miscellaneous reports where no action was taken. In Zone 6, there were 121 crimes, theft ranking top at 22 cases, followed by 10 DUIIs. Zone 1 includes the riverfront within the city limits and south to Cascade Avenue. The meeting for that area will be July 23, followed by an Aug. 22 forum for the upper Serpentine area that makes up Zone 6.
At six percent, Zone 5 has been identified as the most crime-free sector of the city. There were 96 incidents within the past two years in the neighborhoods just south of downtown. DUII ranked first with 10 cases, followed by 11 motor vehicle accidents. Discussion over that area will take place on Aug. 20.
“I think that by working together, the police department and citizens can cut the number of these crimes to at least half,” said Jubitz, who asks local neighborhoods to join the battle against crime.
Once meetings throughout Hood River and Cascade Locks have taken place, Jubitz said both verbal and written comments will be reviewed by himself and other law enforcement officials to set a course of action.