EUGENE, Ore. --- The University of Oregon, Eugene Wake Up, and UO sororities are gearing up to take security into their own hands by launching privately-funded foot patrols to fight lawlessness.
Stephen Sheehan created the movement Eugene Wake Up to address homeless crime in the area of Broadway and Patterson Street. He is also the co-owner of Elk Horn Brewery, a restaurant that was trashed by a repeat offender last year.
Now he's working to add the patrols around his restaurant, as well as the sororities that neighbor him on East 15th Avenue.
He says the video cameras and signs that businesses and sororities added to help combat the problem aren't doing the trick.
“It’ll be two people every night from eight at night to six in the morning and they’ll be all around the area," Sheehan said. "It won’t be set times, so you'll never know where they're going to be. They'll be walking behind our places checking doors. You will see them all the time."
He says he has been working with sorority moms as well as the University of Oregon to come up with a plan and the funds to hire a private security company.
University of Oregon students who live in sorority houses near campus tell KEZI they don't feel safe walking in this area especially when it gets dark out. They say their safety needs to be prioritized and that they should be able to walk to and from school without feeling threatened.
“I definitely think they need to make this a priority because if they want students to come here, they should prioritize our safety and if people are getting hurt that falls back on them, especially for our campus. So, I think this is really good opportunity to get involved,” Adi Cunning, a UO student, said.
University of Oregon spokesperson Saul Hubbard said the university will lend "technical expertise" to the effort but will not help pay for the foot patrols.
"While the area involved is not in UOPD’s primary jurisdiction, the UO is helping the group evaluate different options for launching privately funded foot patrols there as a crime deterrent since we have a vested interest in the safety of our campus community,” Hubbard said.
Sheehan says they all plan to meet on Monday to discuss how they will come up with the money to pay for the patrols. He tells KEZI 9 News that he hopes to have the patrols up and running in the next couple weeks.
KEZI 9 News spoke with Darryl Fink, an employee with Guardian Security, who said he has been in communication with the group.
Fink says he has worked with the university and sororities in the past and hopes to continue to do so.