UPDATED 11:37 AM PT – Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Portland, Oregon is experiencing its highest number of homicides in nearly three decades. The Portland Police Bureau is begging the public to take community action as a way to stop the violence.
As of December, there have been over 850 shootings this year. This resulted in at least 250 people shot and contributed to 50 homicides.
“The number of bullets that must have been flying around our neighborhoods, city streets, sidewalks — it’s awful,” stated Lieutenant Greg Pashley of the Portland Police Department.
In June, Portland city officials and Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler reduced the Portland Police Bureau’s budged by $15 million. Part of the massive budget cut was the total disbanding of the PPB’s Gun Violence Reduction Team, who city leadership accused of disproportionately stopping people of color.
“We propose to direct over $7 million from the police bureau and $5 million from other city funds directly to communities of color, reinvesting $12 million,” Wheeler said back in June. “We are going to dissolve the Gun Violence Reduction Team.”
In response to the jump in gun violence and decline of police funding, the Portland Police Bureau is asking churches and local organizations to step in, so some people may not feel the need to act out in violence. Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said it has to be a team effort.
“We have come together to do our best to stop the spread of a deadly disease. Violence is also a disease that kills and our community is suffering the consequences,” Lovell stated. “The disparate impacts of violence on our communities of color are shocking.”
However, Wheeler said his decision to disband the Gun Violence Reduction Team didn’t actually impact the city’s tragic rise in gun violence.
As of now, Police Chief Lovell has been forced to assign additional detectives as investigators into shootings.