The Eugene Municipal Court is conducting a survey to gather public feedback on public safety concerns. The feedback will be used to focus work and gauge support for the inclusion of a Community Court into the current municipal court structure. The survey’s aim is to assess the needs of the community based on the public’s perception of the most prevalent offenses.
Community members are encouraged to participate. Municipal Court would like to obtain as many responses as possible within the survey time frame. The community survey is available online at eugene-or.gov/communitycourt, and hard copies are available at Municipal Court, 1102 Lincoln Street, Eugene. In addition, students from the University of Oregon and other community volunteers will be conducting intercept surveys with members of the public beginning in the downtown neighborhood. The City will collect survey responses through March, 2, 2014.
The survey focuses on community opinions about crimes occurring in downtown Eugene and Eugene’s 23 neighborhoods. Participants will identify the offenses they perceive as a problem in downtown and the neighborhood in which they reside. Their responses will be used to evaluate the public’s support of a community court program as well as hone the types of crimes that would be best served in an initial phase of community court.
A community court combines penalty and help, such as sentencing offenders to perform community service and receive social services, with the purpose to address public safety concerns by providing offenders with the tools to help them not reoffend. The first community court in the country was the Midtown Community Court, launched in 1993 to address quality-of-life crime in Times Square. Since then, dozens of community courts have opened throughout the country including Multnomah County, Oregon. The goal of a community court seeks to create safer, stronger, and healthier communities.
“The Municipal Court often sees the same offenders repeatedly pass through the justice system for similar offenses often without treating the underlying causes to prevent reoffending. The community court model will better serve the root cause of some of the underlying behaviors that contribute to recurring crime and affect the overall quality of life for both the offender and our community as a whole,” says Presiding Judge Wayne Allen. “It is my hope that we will receive wide community participation in the survey. We will then carefully select offenses and offenders for participation in community court.”