The city of Portland is on pace to see a record-high number of homicides committed this year, as it appears ready to surpass 2021’s total.
In 2022, there have been 88 homicides in the city, and that number does not include any deaths caused by officer shootings, according to KATU 2.
The community safety transition director for Portland Mike Myers spoke to KATU 2. He has been tasked with slowly the city’s violent streak and returning to the safe tech city that Portland once was. Speaking on that, he said:
We have spent an unprecedented, unprecedented amount of money to try to reduce gun violence here in the city of Portland. And we’re gonna continue to fund that. The mayor and the Council have put 10 million dollars over the next two years in just street level outreach and community-based organizations and a community-based approach to reducing gun violence in the community of Portland.
When asked if, given the likelihood of 2022 being the city’s deadliest year on record, the plan was working as intended, Myers said this:
I think that’s a great question, and you know I get that question a lot, you know what are the expectations? And somebody told me, a street level officer or outreach worker explained it to me best the other day, is describing to me the interactions that he’s had with individuals that would’ve likely pulled a weapon and committed murder themselves, and he was able to talk them out of it. And those stories don’t get reported, we don’t know how many times somebody didn’t pull the trigger.
Myers’s main point of pride is slowing the year-to-year increase in homicides. From 2000 through 2019, the city averaged 21 homicides a year. That number exploded upward to 57 in 2020 and 88 in 2021.
Now, the city is poised to break that record yet again, as reported by Oregon Live, Portland has surpassed last year’s total.
Portland has seen crime grow steadily since the start of the pandemic and many businesses have been forced to close shop due to the rampant property theft and delinquency.
All of this seemingly stems from the George Floyd protests in July 2020, where protesters overran police and created their own autonomous zone where buildings and cars were set ablaze.
This destruction totaled tens of millions of dollars in damages to the city, mostly in the areas that could least afford to fix such heavy losses.
For his part, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has admitted that his police department is understaffed to deal with this issue and is working toward fixing the issue, saying:
First responders need the tools, the resources, the training [and] the personnel to do their jobs effectively and safely. The reason that so many of our firefighters and police officers are so burned out is we’re asking them to do too much with the number of people we have on the streets. We’re asking way too much of them.
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