Bike trail robbery unusual for Goodpasture Island Road neighborhood

Goodpasture Island Loop residents say crime in the area is uncommon. Sunday night, a woman was mugged and hit on a bike path. (SBG photos)

EUGENE, Ore. – Eugene Police are investigating an attempted robbery on a bike path off Goodpasture Island Road Sunday night.

Officials say a 33-year-old woman was attacked just before dark.

Residents in the area say they’re shocked and concerned about the crime in their own back yard. They say it’s usually a safe, tight-knit neighborhood.

“Fifty families in this neighborhood on a first name and say ‘Hi’ as I walk the dogs,” said David Hill, a Goodpasture Island Road resident.

It’s an active street with people walking their dogs. But what happened on a bike trail off the street has residents concerned for their next walk around the block.

A man hit and kicked a woman after he demanded she hand over any cash.

Hill said this type of crime is new to the neighborhood.

“Never a mugging, never a violent crime -- this is the first one I've heard of,” he said.

Eugene Crime Prevention specialist Steven Chambers said these types of paths could give attackers a way to hide behind a bush or a tree.

“At all times we want citizens to be vigilante of their surroundings whether it’s during the daytime or night,” Chambers said.

It’s prompted Eugene Police to issue the following safety tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Do not get into someone’s car even if they display a weapon. It is better to fight back in the street where help is closer at hand and other people may hear your calls for help.
  • Walk confidently and don’t avoid eye contact
  • Don’t let strangers into your ‘space.’ Keep plenty of distance between yourself and people you don’t wish to approach you.
  • Don’t stop to talk with strangers asking for directions or other types of help as this can be a ploy to get close for an attack.
  • If you feel you are in danger or being followed, call 9-1-1
  • If grabbed, fight back and make as much noise as possible.
  • Use the buddy system when walking after dark or in ‘fringe’ areas, which are places there are fewer people travelling, allowing them a chance to victimize you without chancing witnesses. You should know the person you are walking with well enough to trust them.
  • Walk in lighted areas as much as possible and don’t walk too close to bushes, alleyways or other places where attackers can conceal themselves.

“Statistically, if you have more than one person you’re less likely to be attacked,” Chambers said.

He wants more people to keep walking in their neighborhoods to keep criminal activity away.

“I’ll probably still walk them,” Hill said of his dogs. “They get to be such pains if you don't walk them.”

Police said the suspect from Sunday night’s attack is still at large.

They will have bike patrols in the area in the summer.

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