Medford plans to increase police presence downtown

MEDFORD, Ore. — The city of Medford is considering changes to how it polices downtown. The Downtown Medford Association and the Medford Police Department are teaming up.

They are looking to try to create a safer downtown Medford, both for businesses and for the community as a whole. “They know that every morning when they walk in there will be someone sitting at the entrance to their business and that every day they have their supplies on hand to repair damage and vandalism,” said DMA’s Courtney Toll.

Petty crime has become a grim reality for many businesses in downtown Medford. And now the Downtown Medford Association and Medford Police are discussing making changes to improve the business environment.

A group of business owners and the DMA met with police earlier this week. Among the points discussed was the increase in police presence in the city center. People don’t want to come downtown due to security concerns as well as just the perception of dirt and vandalism

A Medford spokeswoman said the city is in the very early stages of developing a plan. Medford Police Lt. DJ Graham did a brief phone interview with me on the subject on Wednesday.

“We have talked about the possibility of developing a pilot project to increase resources in the downtown business district of Medford,” Lt. Graham said.

Courtney Toll of the Downtown Medford Association said the discussion centered on expanding the Medford livability team. He works with other local organizations to connect people to resources, to help get them off the streets of downtown and the Bear Creek Greenway.

“The proposition on the table is that the downtown business community would like their downtown to be livability-oriented,” Toll said.

Local Business Owners Jami and Steve Ronda own Rogue City Comics. She thinks putting more police on the streets downtown would be a great choice. Their business is no stranger to crime, they went on hiatus 6 months ago

“We just want downtown to be a place where people feel safe to come and shop, to come and enjoy the fantastic restaurants, there’s so much potential to create this amazing center that people can really enjoy.

While the city develops the plan, Lt. Graham said city council is expected to review it in early April. Police have urged the business community to use the non-emergency line, for police matters when people or property are not in danger.

This number is (541)770-4785. And of course, always call 911 in an emergency.

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David H. Henry