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Operation CARE heads for north Medford

I am wondering if the Medford Police Department is still conducting neighborhood walkthroughs to gauge crime and gang activity? If so, what neighborhood are they targeting next?

— Walter P., Medford

Expect to see a flood of officers packing clipboards in the neighborhood surrounding Howard Elementary School on Nov. 8.

This will make the fifth Operation CARE within city limits. Howard Elementary School sits on Mace Road, near Merriman Road in north Medford.

As part of Operation CARE, or Community Awareness Rejuvenation Effort, the city sends a survey about social services and public safety to residents in an at-risk neighborhood, then the police visit the residents to talk about their needs and give them information about available resources.

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.

The operations are not only geared toward deterring crime in a particular neighborhood.

One 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 department plans to complete similar operations each quarter.

The operations have been done in the Liberty Park area after a gang-related stabbing last November. Another operation was conducted in June in an area near Hedrick Middle School.

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

To be sure, officers will deal with criminals as they find them. During one operation, officers arrested a sex offender who had not registered with the state.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.