By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Online map shows Mac crime reports

McMinnville is experiencing a spike in thefts, burglaries and property crimes, providing yet another reminder for residents to lock their cars, deadbolt their homes and stay alert.

The most prominent recent incident involved accused home intruder Larry Neil Baker, who was shot in the chest by the victimized homeowner in a quiet neighborhood near Linfield College. He is being charged with misdemeanors rather than more serious charges related to burglary, which would apply if law enforcement can prove he entered the home with intent to commit a crime.

We’ll wait for more on that story.

Meanwhile, such reports always spawn complaints accusing police and the overall law enforcement system of failing to deter, capture and prosecute criminals who prey on our community. In response, it bears repeating that our police department is understaffed; our courts, jails and prisons are jammed; and a culture besieged with drugs, alcohol and transients makes it doubly difficult for law enforcement to keep up.

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Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Quantifying the problem can be challenging. McMinnville Police Department issues annual reports, and 2016 statistics showed reduced counts for most crime categories. Throughout the year, however, MPD doesn’t always have time for clear trending reports, and actually has become less forthcoming regarding making crime reports available on a timely basis.

The most interesting crime source is the national website, CrimeReports.com, which maps incident reports originating from more than 1,000 law enforcement agencies including MPD and the Sheriff’s Department. “CrimeReports,” the website states, “is the nation’s largest collection of law enforcement agencies committed to transparency, public access, and citizen engagement.”

It’s not an exact statistical system, and all the numbers change as timelines change and map displays are zoomed. But there’s great functionality for locating and generally quantifying all types of crime reports.

Looking at the past 31 days, the CrimeReport system shows 1,254 incidents of all kinds reported in McMinnville. They include 21 violent crimes, 11 weapons offenses, 8 missing persons, 23 breaking and entering, 36 other property crimes, 132 thefts, 71 “disorder” incidents, 42 drugs and alcohol, 730 vehicle stops and 175 traffic incidents.

About 40 percent of the incidents occurred in what I would call “old town,” an area generally bounded by Cook and Memorial schools east and west, and the high school and First Baptist Church north and south. About 25 percent of thefts, other property crimes and disorderly conducts occurred in the core downtown area.
CrimeReports.com is a great resource for local crime trends and for block-by-block incident reports.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

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