Portland Violence Rise As New Solutions Sought

The Portland Medium

The murder rate in Portland has been unprecedented this year. With two months remaining, it’s likely that the city will set a new high mark for homicides per hundred thousand people with 67 or greater killings being confirmed so far.

The Portland Police Department is reported to be in a crunch to keep up with the recent staff shortage and budget cuts. The City of Portland in the Pacific Northwest is making moves to prevent drive-by shootings and other serious crimes by implementing novel solutions. Traffic barrels have been placed to stop cars from passing through while an officer investigates a shooting or similar situation. 

Portland has had more than 1,000 shootings and at least 314 people have been injured by bullets in the last year. The city’s high crime rate is reportedly due largely to gang violence between rival groups as well as retaliation killings which happen when one group avenges an earlier shooting.

Portland may not be as popular but it has had more homicides in 2021 than some of the more popular cities including San Francisco and Seattle. Other cities are dealing with crime issues as well. 

The Portland police department has lost over 200 officers since August 2020. Many of those officers cited low morale, lack of support from city officials and burnout as a result of months spent dealing with racial justice protests. 

More citizens have become critical of police treatment of citizens for several years now. However, something about the George Floyd fatal incident in Minneapolis.  Officers held Floyd  down while another office who was white placed a knee on his neck and held pressure with his hand in his pocket until the crying and urinating Black man died.

Protest in Portland has been particularly violent and gained national attention. Portland is a largely white population where neighborhood lawns all over display Black Lives Matter signs. The city’s only Black Commissioner, Jo Ann Hardesty, is a longtime civil and human rights activist that focuses on police issues.

Ideas of using more funds in non-militaristic solutions to crime has been front and center – using the controversial “defund the police” moniker as a call to government change in how is deals with racial minorities, the homeless population, as well as the mentally ill. The local crime wave can also be a result of poverty and the new world we live in created by COVID. The city of Portland is experiencing an increase in homicides at a faster rate than nearly all major cities. Nationally, the number rose 30% from 2019 to 2020 but in Portland, Oregon it went up 83%.