Crime Beat – July 19, 2012
By David Smith
In an apparent case of attempted vigilante “justice,” a 42-year-old Grants Pass resident was apprehended on the afternoon of Saturday, July 14 for allegedly threatening two men with a firearm.
The accused, who was in his vehicle at the time, pursued the two men (who were on foot) down 6th Street in the downtown area, pointing a handgun at them out of the window of his car. When the men fled toward 5th Street, he continued to follow them. Apparently he had been the victim of a previous theft, and believed the men he was chasing were the perpetrators.
Because of the reported use of a firearm, officers from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety conducted a “high risk” traffic stop and apprehended the man. He was cited and released on charges of Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Second-Degree Disorderly Conduct. Charges of Pointing a Firearm at Another and Menacing were referred to the District Attorney’s office for prosecution.
The two men he was pursuing fled into a residential area and disappeared.
A reminder: regardless of any prior offenses an individual has perpetrated against you, it is against the law to point a firearm at another person, with or without malice. The use of a handgun in a densely populated area also carries significant risks to innocent bystanders. Vigilante “justice” is a serious violation of Oregon law, which does not justify the use of a firearm except in cases of self-defense where there is serious and immediate risk of death or grievous injury.
Check out Channel 10’s coverage of SOS here:
“The goal of this group is to look for answers, whether that be finding new sources of funding, looking for new options, talking to people in the community, trying to rebuild trust in our leadership,” member David Smith said. “That has already generated some great ideas, some of which are being put into place now.”
“If we all join together, we can all make a difference together,” member Christine Schmidt said.
While the average County property tax rate across Oregon is significantly higher than $2 per $1000 of a property’s assessed value, Josephine County’s permanent rate to support operations is a mere 58 cents. The Federal funding that will be provided to the County in the current year is so small (compared to the total needs to maintain previous levels of Criminal Justice services) that it won’t drastically affect the current year budget. Much of the federal funding will have to be carried over to next fiscal year to avoid even further cuts next year. Going forward after this year there is still nearly a $12 million per year deficit to get back to providing Criminal Justice services at a level where programs operated in past years.
Now that the County’s budget is adopted for the new fiscal year that began July 1st, below is the breakdown of how the 58 cents is spent. Many folks have been concerned that Public Safety departments were the departments that were most affected after the recent failure of the property tax levy vote. As you can see, after funding required services almost all tax dollars go to Public Safety so there is little else to cut when the tax dollars are not available.
A picture, or map, speaks a thousand words. Check out the crime mapping for Grants Pass, adjust the dates to show the period you are interested in, and decide for yourself whether our community needs a properly funded criminal justice system with adequate jail and DA services:
Click Here for the GP Crime Mapping Report for 6/11/12 to 7/11/12
Trends in GP stats will tell a major story in coming months. Due to new lack of Josephine County funding we have officers to respond in the City of GP, but practically no jail to house offenders and limited DA services.
We’re looking for your HELP and INPUT on solutions!
[note the only local agency reporting to this system is the Grants Pass Police. A lack of symbols out in the County does not mean a lack of crime in the County]