Is homelessness causing crime in downtown Corvallis?

Is homelessness causing crime in downtown Corvallis?

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Residents and business owners in downtown Corvallis say they've seen an increase in crime in the area.

The city's police department increased patrols in the downtown and central park areas to quell complaints of littering, criminal mischief, human waste, and disorderly conduct. Captain Dave Henslee said they are trying to educate the public, while issuing warnings and citations to those who break the law.

Peter Ball has lived in the town his whole life, and believes the homeless population is increasing because of the availability of services. He says the increase caused a disruption in commerce and the community.

The Fourth Street shelter is located on the same block as several downtown businesses. Homeless advocates are hoping to replace the seasonal shelter with a year round facility. 

Jacob Schneider owns a downtown business and says he supports permanent shelters for those seeking a better life. However, he also believes people in shelters should be held accountable for their behavior.  

He has witnessed many homeless individuals drinking, smoking, going to the bathroom, and yelling vulgar things at his customers and people walking by his shop. 

Schneider said he's worried a permanent shelter could perpetuate same patterns of behavior, which in turn could jeopardize the future of his business.

Homeless advocate Aleita Hass-Holcombe says she has not seen an increase in Corvallis homelessness.

She believes more should be invested in addressing the root causes of problematic behavior, including substance abuse and mental health.