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Despite drop in calls from 2018, Police Chief Rob Wurpes continues to be concerned about theft in town

PMG PHOTO: COREY BUCHANAN - Wilsonville Police Chief Robert Wurpes (right) talks to a Rotary Club of Wilsonville member at a 2019 meeting.

Crime in Wilsonville was slightly less prevalent in 2019 than 2018, according to the Wilsonville Police Department's annual report.

The report shows that the total number of calls for service dropped from 8,571 to 8,271 (a 3.5% decline) and the number of calls resulting in reports dropped from 1,276 to 1,218. However, the city's population increased by 1.5% during that time.

Police calls reporting theft also declined from 639 to 529. However, Police Chief Rob Wurpes still sees theft as a big issue.

"On our side of this, we're going to step up patrols and look for folks out at night," Wurpes said. "We're always shocked by the things people leave in their cars. You name it, it's in their cars: keys to the house, handguns, prescriptions. We really need to stop leaving valuables in our cars. We all have to take measures to not be an attractive target."

Traffic crashes also declined, going from 393 to 366. As for the top three intersections in terms of number of crashes, the intersection of Wilsonville Road and the I-5 Northbound freeway had 14 crashes in 2019 compared to 11 in 2018; the intersection of Wilsonville Road and Boones Ferry Road dropped from 10 crashes to seven; and the intersection of Southwest 95th Avenue and Southwest Ridder Road had six crashes in 2019 and five in 2018.

"We saw a decrease in crashes and the injury rate was fairly low. We thought that was good," Wurpes said.

As far as crimes, there were no murders in 2018 (although there was one attempted murder) and the murder of an employee at Heritage Speciality Foods in November was the lone murder in 2019.

"The shooting death, we had luck was on our side (from a law enforcement perspective) that day. The SWAT team was in town. They couldn't have been any closer than they were. That helped bring this to a much faster close," Wurpes said.

The other major case last year, the fire at a condominium building in Villebois in March, has yet to be resolved but Wurpes said the investigation could conclude soon.

Other data points in the report included aggravated assault crimes jumping from four to 12 and robberies declining from 10 to five.

Wurpes said citizens should take yearly report data with a grain of salt.

"The one thing I try to warn people about on those numbers is without a scientific study then we're just guessing," Wurpes said of whether data signals a legitimate trend. "We don't really know."

Wilsonville Police Department staffing remained steady at 11 full-time employees, although a part-time detective is set to join the force soon after completing training.

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