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'Lower crimes just don't get the attention, and probably never will'

River Road neighbors say law enforcement isn't doing enough to stop and prevent burglaries in their neighborhood. They're holding a forum Monday night to discus a neighborhood watch program. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. - River road neighbors are hosting a forum focusing on the lack of police response to recent burglaries.

The south River Road neighborhood said current safety patrols are no longer cutting it. The Lane County Sheriff's Office, Eugene Police, and a county commissioner are expected to be there Monday night, in addition to community members.

Organizers say they hope to resolve the burglary issue by forming a neighborhood watch group. Both businesses and residents say they feel like they need to take safety into their own hands.

One business owner on River Road, Dave Cooley, said he sees police on River Road every day, but they overlook burglaries.

"I know some of the police. So they're my friends, you know, it's not like anti-police," Cooley explained. "Lower crimes just don't get the attention, and probably never will."

Cooley says he has 24-hour surveillance now at his car dealership.

“Somebody was trying to steal Cadillac convertible and their hair got caught on the, underneath the car. Had the guy's phone number, his DNA, his hair, nothing happened. No offense, police, but I mean, that was - it just didn't happen,” recalled Cooley.

Cooley says it's now up to the community to find solutions.

"We can't just sit back and let, you know, the police deal with everything because they're not going to be able to do it," he said.

One resident, Mike Murphree said the burglaries could be due to homeless people camping out by the train tracks.

"Because up around north park at the end of the street they'll be camped there until the police do run them off," Murphree said.

Lane County Commissioner Pat Farr said the reason River Road might be targeted is because it has a patchwork of city and county jurisdiction.

"Finding a coordinated response is something that we need to seek and it's something that I believe, I'm optimistic that we can do it," Farr said.

Both Eugene Police and Lane County Sheriff's Office patrol parts of River Road.

The forum will take place Monday night at 7 p.m. It will be at the River Road Annex building (1055 River Rd.) Coordinators say they also invited state representative Nancy Nathanson and City Councilor Clair Sayett to attend.

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