Problematic Behavior or Activity
In 2013, the Redmond Police Department conducted a comparison of calls for service and police contacts with regards to three city parks: Sam Johnson, Quince, and American Legion. Sam Johnson Park had 59.8% of the activity for calls in the major parks in the City of Redmond. Calls mentioned criminal mischief and assault along with alcohol, tobacco, and drug use (mostly marijuana). These mainly involved juveniles between the ages of 13-20. The pavilion in the middle of the park was mentioned 52 times, or in 25.8% of the calls. The pavilion is a gathering point for people in the park, especially groups of juveniles. Problems in the park may be furthermore instigated due to it being surrounded by a high concentration of low income residential complexes, along with it being a shortcut for the surrounding residences to downtown and it being a central park surrounded by the canyon, skate park, field, etc.
Data was gathered through Deschutes County 911 (Dispatch), Deschutes County Computer Aided Dispatch (managed by Hitech systems) Officers and Administration of the Redmond Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, the City of Redmond Public Works, Redmond Area Park and Recreation District and the general public. An analysis of the data showed a juvenile problem during the early months of summer and fall, when school was about to get out for the summer or start for the year. Incidents occurred mostly between the hours of 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Most of the incidents also occurred at or near the pavilion located in the middle of the park. We also spoke to residents, by knocking on doors and asking about their perceptions of the park.
Impact on the Community
Residents around the park frequently voiced concerns about their safety and the safety of their children, along with complaints of littering and unwanted smells resulting from the drug usage. As a result, the park was infrequently used by residents and there was a fear of crime when in the park.
Redmond Police developed a strategy using Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED). The solution included implementing signage, cameras, extra patrols, and lighting (solar/green). It also included encouraging the public to call whenever they have concerns, asking the Redmond School District to enforce its policy on kids in the park during school hours, establishing a new City ordinance excluding kids from parks during school hours, and opening a street through the park to increase traffic and visibility at night.
Redmond Police did not receive the support or the funding to implement all parts of the strategy. On its own, the Redmond Police used its Street Crimes Unit and increased patrols to the area, issued more citations and made more arrests. Additionally, the officers speak to residents more frequently and receive more calls. Also, the department collaborated with groups concerned about the park.
Based on Research
Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED)
There were no additional costs for the increased patrols, just a reallocation of staffing. Staff also had to make time to collaborate and coordinate with organizations.
The goal was to reduce calls and criminal activity, monitor and move/remove juvenile activity out of the park, and increase the usability of Sam Johnson Park. Data is not yet available, but the department plans a quarterly review and analysis of calls and activity to the park. The department also plans to survey the general public along with associated agencies involved in the process. A new playground in Sam Johnson Park was opened in October 2015. We want the park to be a safe and fun place for children and families to gather.
Critical Success Factors
Backing from the listed organizations, time, and an acceptance that the plan will work when done in coordination with all groups involved.
We faced challenges implementing the plan such as an acknowledgement of the problem, manpower, backing from the various community organizations, time, and an acceptance that the plan will work when done in coordination with all groups involved.
- CPTED: The Commercial Demonstration in Portland, OR
- The Effect of Trees on Crime in Portland, Oregon
- Multnomah County Juvenile Crime Prevention
- Crime Reduction Effects and Financial Impact of Improved Lighting