'Neighbors looking out for neighbors and reporting suspicious activity is really valuable'

Police say neighborhood watches help them catch criminals. Neighbors are more likely to notice things out of the ordinary and report them. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – Thanks to some watchful neighbors, police arrested a stabbing suspect on Sunday.

The Eugene Police Department said a woman who was in the home where the stabbing took place pepper sprayed the suspect, Jacob Baughman.

He then ran to a nearby neighborhood, knocking on doors and asking for help. That’s when residents near Hughes Street and Wood Avenue called police and officers arrested Baughman.

Police say alert neighbors can make a difference in these situations. They want more residents to consider establishing neighborhood watches.

“We are the first line of defense really, we are going to see it before anyone else, we live here,” said Willa Rosin, a member of a neighborhood watch.

Rosin is one of the founders of the neighborhood watch on Goodpasture Island Road in Eugene. She said her neighbor was burglarized nine years ago.

“And that frightened everyone that this could happen to anyone,” she said.

Rosin, along with other concerned Goodpasture Island Road residents deciding something must be done.

“So we thought, ‘Let’s bind together on this and come up with a game plan,” Rosin said.

They formed the neighborhood watch. Eugene Police say this group is one of 130 in the city. They’re hoping that number grows.

“Neighborhood watch can be quite valuable,” said Debbie Janecek, a supervisor with the Crime Prevention Unit.

She said neighborhood watch groups give Eugene Police a higher probability of catching criminals.

“We understand that neighbors looking out for neighbors and reporting suspicious activity is really valuable and so we do neighborhood watch setup and encourage it quite often,” Janecek said.

She said it’s easy to start. You need one person who’s willing to volunteer as an easy point of contact. Then, a crime prevention specialist will come to your neighborhood and set up a plan.

“Encourage people to call us with anything that raises their natural suspicion,” Janecek said.

She said it’s easier for people to notice things that are out of the ordinary when they’re familiar with the area.

Rosin said the group has led to better relationships among neighbors. They look out for one another.

“Definitely do this. There’s no reason not to be a part of a neighborhood watch,” she said.

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