Crime shows decline in Eugene in 2009

Crime shows decline in Eugene in 2009 »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - Twice in three days, thieves broke into the Oregon Antique Mall in Eugene and smashed their way into jewelry cases.

"I think they used a heavy candlestick because this is heavy glass - just went wham," said Dolan.

Burglaries at Eugene businesses, like the antique mall, shot up nearly 50 percent in 2009, even as all crimes showed a decline.

Even as property crimes continue to plague Eugene, the crime statistics for 2009 show a welcome downward trend compared to 2008.

Total crimes went down 7.8 percent. Behavior crimes like disorderly conduct and drug abuse dropped 5 percent. Property Crimes were down 10 percent, but "person" crimes went up.

"That would be homicides, rape, robbery, assault, kidnapping," explains Stan Lenhart, the crime analyst for the Eugene Police Department.

Many other categories went up, like burglaries at businesses like the Oregon Antique Mall. Police have managed to recover some of Penny's stolen property, but sometimes it turns up in the strangest places - like a mud puddle n a Eugene street corner.

Dolan said a stranger stopped by last week with the baggie containing a ring and damaged bracelet stolen from Dolan's jewelry case that the stranger allegedly found in the street.

"She brought these two items in. She was just thrilled that she found them," Dolan said.

Better yet would be fewer break-ins to begin with.

"Our goal is to reduce that down as best as possible," Lenhart said, "and I think we're making the right turn."
    
Police said one person is behind bars so far in the antique store burglary case.