This past weekend was a busy one for the Roseburg Police Department as it continues to deal with numerous petty crimes in and around downtown and a jail that is nearly full as a result of changes in protocol resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
RPD logs show that officers dealt with at least 40 incidents involving 54 individuals over the weekend. The majority of the reports involve minor crimes such as trespassing and drinking in public. Of the 54 individuals encountered, seven were arrested and taken to jail, while 47 were cited and released, the logs show.
Jail officials have said they are able to house less than half the inmates they could before COVID-19.
In March, the average inmate count in the jail was 190, and in April that number dropped to 78, jail officials said. Arrests are also down. In April of 2019, RPD made 256 arrests, and this past April the agency made 155, RPD officials said.
Many of the citations issued over the weekend were the result of crimes typically associated with homelessness, including public camping, littering, trespassing and public intoxication. Advocates and service providers for the homeless say COVID-19 has exacerbated the difficult living conditions of their clients.
Places they used to go for showers, hot meals and a respite from the weather are no longer providing many of those services, or have severely restricted them. Other places the homeless would go for a cheap meal and/or cover from the rain, including coffee shops, fast food restaurants and the library, have also been closed.