Police Discuss Beat Projects

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Police say a small group of properties are contributing to much of the neighborhood crime and drug use in Medford, but while they know the source, stopping it isn’t so easy.

Police call these properties beat projects, and right now there are 25 of them in Medford. These houses are constant sources for everything from nuisance crimes to high-level drug deals and gang activities.

Each one of the beat projects has at least one officer assigned to it and gets near-daily patrols. While police know exactly what’s going on inside, they aren’t always easy to stop.

Most of the time they can get a landlord to evict the tenants living inside. If the landlord won’t cooperate, they usually have to sit and wait for code violations to rack up so they can take them to court. Meanwhile the houses continue to operate as hub for illegal activity.

“If you have one house where you have a lot of criminals going to, a lot of criminal conduct occurring at, it causes strife in that entire neighborhood,” explain Medford Police Lt. Curtis Whipple.

Police say even if they can get warrants to go inside and make arrests, the people living there will usually get out of jail and go right back home. Meanwhile, the near constant patrols strain the department’s resources and do little to keep the activity out of the neighborhood.

Police say these houses are simply a reality of Medford. Once one is taken care of, the activity just moves to another neighborhood.