PENDLETON — Trespassing calls in Pendleton surged up 22% from 2018 to 2019, and reports of sex crimes dropped almost 29%.
The stats come from Pendleton Chief of Police Stuart Roberts, who ran the numbers from July 2017-June 2018 and likewise for the subsequent 12 months of the activities and crimes the department tracked the most.
Some of the trespassing calls are due to Pendleton’s growing homeless population, Roberts said, but the rise also reflects the broader use of the department’s trespass agreement program.
Pendleton police implemented that program some years ago to allow businesses to give officers the authority to trespass people outside of normal business hours. The department has expanded the program to residential properties, and the result has been more trespasses.
Code enforcement matters also trended up about 5%. The department had 1,521 code incidents in 2017-18 dealt and 1,592 from 2018-19. Roberts said code violations often are about quality of life issues, such as folks allowing dogs to bark or keeping junker cars on the street.
Assaults of all kinds also increased over the two years, from 116 to 132. Roberts said most of those are misdemeanor assaults that include fisticuffs in a bar to domestic violence. Determining whether an assault is a fourth-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, however, comes down to pain.
Oregon law, Roberts explained, uses the victim’s assessment of their pain as the measuring stick for the severity of the crime. The broken nose in a street fight that leaves one person crying in pain could leave another with little discomfort. That excludes, of course, assaults that involve the use of weapons or prolonged beatings and result in disfiguring or serious injuries.
Pendleton police caught a break with declines in burglaries and sex crimes.
Pendleton had 113 burglaries in the 2017-18 span, but from 2018-19 that dropped to 80.
“To have a community of our size with 80 burglaries in a year is really amazing,” Roberts said, and could be the result of the department’s work to “stay on top of people who engage in those types of offenses.”
And the reports of all sex crimes fell from 56 to 40. Roberts said that reverses the trend that still remains too high and often involves children.
“We work a lot of those cases where a lot of kids are being victimized on an ongoing basis,” he said.
While Pendleton’s numbers of sex crime reports declined, studies from U.S. Department of Justice’s show most sex crime victims do not come forward.