EUGENE, Ore. – An analysis of a recent annual report from the Eugene Police department reveals incidents of vandalism rose 63% in 2020, but the exact reason for the sharp rise remains unclear.
According to the report, there were 1,748 vandalism incidents in 2019. In 2020, that number rose to 2,837. While Eugene did see destructive protests in July, the peak of vandalism activity actually came between August and November.
A spokesperson for the department said the increased vandalism during that time “doesn’t correspond with any of the activities happening around the city” that officials could identify.
“We can’t offer a compelling explanation for why,” the department said.
The worst month came in September when there were 314 incidents, which is more than double the number of incidents reported during the same month in 2019.
Graffiti is included in the overarching vandalism category. Last July, the city confirmed reports of graffiti were on the rise. According to the city’s data, graffiti-related charges rose more than 700% in 2020, from just 8 charges in 2019 to 65 last year.
While police aren’t sure exactly what’s to blame, they have a theory. The department said so-called “add-on” charges could explain the rise in vandalism incidents. Add-on charges are when a crime is committed and an officer chooses to add additional charges that resulted from the initial crime.