Medford police officer Jenny Bridges talks with Jennifer Krauter outside of her apartment on Summit Avenue Tuesday as part of a city survey of residents in the west Medford neighborhood. Mail Tribune / Julia Moore - Julia Moore

Cops who CARE

Medford officers parked their two-ton steel cages Tuesday and armed themselves with clipboards and pens to note the concerns of a west Medford neighborhood.

The effort marked the department's fourth Operation CARE, or Community Awareness Rejuvenation Effort — a neighborhood canvassing strategy in which officers visit residents to talk about crime and blight facing the area.

Officers were paired with city employees and sent into the area of Jackson Elementary School to knock on doors.

Medford police Chief Tim George said there hadn't been any notable problems in the neighborhood recently that led to it being chosen for the latest Operation CARE.

"We try to reach neighborhoods all over the city," George said. "We chose Jackson because it has a neighborhood feel, where a lot of people live in close proximity."

Officer Jenny Bridges and Medford Public Works Director Cory Crebbin grabbed a stack of surveys and visited homes near Summit Avenue.

Residents were asked several questions and are instructed to rate their neighborhood on a scale ranging from "relatively safe" to "unsafe." They also were asked to comment on issues such as cleanliness, the condition of the roads and whether the area is a good place to raise a family.

Jennifer Krauter, 25, who recently moved to Medford from California, had few complaints about her new home. Bridges asked her if she had time to fill out the survey, which was mailed to her weeks in advance of the canvass.

"No," she said, laughing. "My kids sort of used it for a coloring book."

Krauter said she felt safe in the neighborhood, but felt the city could do a better job of keeping the streets clean.

Bridges then asked how well the police were doing their job.

"And please, be honest," Bridges said. "You won't offend me. If you don't think we are doing a good job, just say so. It will help make us better."

Krauter said since she was new to the area, she hadn't had an opportunity to deal with Medford police.

However, one woman, who did not want to be identified, said the neighborhood had some problems with gangs and graffiti. She said her daughter was beaten up near Jackson swimming pool.

"I want crime to come down," she said. "There are a lot of problems over here."

Bridges said the department accepts anonymous reports about graffiti and other issues.

"Graffiti is a problem in a neighborhood," Bridges said. "Some of them are good artists, it would be nice if they took their talents and did something good with them."

After filling out the survey, neighbors were given a packet of information on joining the city's neighborhood watch program and contact numbers of various social services.

The operations have shed light on serious blight conditions around the city, George said.

Last year, Operation CARE turned up a blind man who was living in a home with exposed wires. The department worked with the city to get the man into safer housing.

The latest effort might lead to a felony sex crime arrest, George said.

"We learned of an unreported sex offense and will have investigators doing follow-up," George said.

George did not provide any details on the crime because the investigation is in the early stages.

The department plans to complete similar operations each quarter.

The next survey tentatively is planned for September in a neighborhood just south of Hawthorne Park, George said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email

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