EUGENE, Ore.-- Police in Eugene have increased their efforts to stop gang activity and dangerous gang members who they say are coming down from Portland.
Officers say this is the worst the problem has ever been in the city.
An undercover detective with Eugene police said gang activity has been increasing in our area over the past ten years.
"This, right now, is probably the worst I've ever seen it," the detective said.
He said gang members are leaving Portland because police there know them, and even homicide suspects are coming to Eugene to hide out. He said that with gangs comes drug-related and violent crimes. There's even been an increase in shootings.
"Where there's gangs there's going to be crime and there's going to be drug related crime and there's going to be violent crime," the detective said.
Community members are noticing more crime in the area, too.
"We just saw an incident the other day where we saw a drug deal go down," Daren Ambrose, a Eugene resident, said.
Ambrose has children. Now, he's worried about their safety.
"I have children and myself and I worry about them constantly," Ambrose said.
KEZI 9 News asked the undercover detective what the next step is in stopping gang activity. He said they've been working tirelessly with Portland police to identify the criminals. In addition, The Eugene Police Department is gathering a team of their own to fight gang-related crime.
“We're in the process of putting together a modified gang team from what we've had in the past," the detective said. "We work these cases..This is pretty much all I do these days is work gang related crimes."
He said within gangs, there is a "no snitching" culture. That makes it hard to get witnesses to come forward.
To help catch the criminals, he said community members should keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
The detective recommends that if anyone sees something they think may be gang-related, they call police right away.