Bend crime statistics are now available through an online database announced by the city’s police department this week.
The Bend police data hub is intended to promote accountability and transparency, according to Police Chief Mike Krantz. It will also be used to justify funding requests and to make decisions about how to use law enforcement resources, such as where to focus traffic enforcement.
Krantz said he hopes the portal dispels false assumptions that crime is on the rise.
“The data doesn’t really show that,” he said. “We have a really safe community.”
Overall, the number of calls to Bend police has increased slightly over recent years, while remaining consistently lower than before the pandemic began. Criminal offenses verified by police have also dropped since 2019. Much of that downturn relates to Oregon’s decriminalization of drug possession in 2021 and a decline in some property-related crimes. Crimes against people — a category including violence — spiked after the COVID-19 lockdowns, but then dropped to pre-pandemic levels last year.
City officials said the database is updated daily. It details where police have used drones to respond to emergencies or investigate crimes. It also tracks types of 911 calls, case reports, bias crimes and when police respond to mental health crises.
This year, police are showing up to fewer mental health calls, Krantz said, largely because of Deschutes County social workers answering instead of officers.
“A lot of our focus the last couple years has been to really put police resources where they belong and have other folks respond to other circumstances where police officers may not be needed and it may not be our responsibility,” Krantz said.
Calls to police dropped off dramatically when COVID-19 restrictions began, and have remained well below 2019 levels. Some exceptions include callers reporting shoplifting, which rose by more than 25% in 2022 compared to 2021. Calls reporting an “allegedly mentally ill person” or an “unwanted subject” have also increased.
Krantz said he anticipates a slow return to pre-pandemic demands for service.
“We certainly hope that we don’t see a climb back to the numbers we saw previous to COVID. That was to the point of nearly unsustainable for our folks.”
The Portland Police Bureau, where Krantz was formerly a supervisor, also offers a public data hub.