Reportedly, Portland, Oregon, has had a “seven-fold” increase in the homicide rate. More Portland residents have been killed this year so far than in the totality of 2019, as reported on Monday by the Seattle Times, and we are only 5 months into the year.
Gun violence and homicide rates have gotten so horrific that the resident of Portland planned and carried out a “March Against Murder” event, “protesting lives lost in a huge escalation of gun violence in Oregon’s largest city,” stated the Times.
While the murder rate in the city is still lower than in some major cities, the number of dead this year is rapidly ever-increasing, and most of the victims are of the minority population of the area.
“As of Sunday morning, 37 people had died in Portland homicides this year, a more-than-sevenfold increase compared with the first five months of last year, and a stark contrast to Seattle, a larger city, where 11 homicides had been recorded as of late May. So far this year, the victims have disproportionately been people of color,” reported the outlet.
This is definitely not a new trend from what we have seen this year so far.
“More people died of gunfire last year in Portland — 40 — than the entire tally of homicides the previous year. The number of shootings — 900 — was nearly 2 1/2 times higher than the year before. The spike has continued this year, with more than 150 shootings, including 45 people wounded and 12 killed so far,” stated the Associated Press back in March, making note of the fact that 2020 was the deadliest year for the city in the past 25 years.
This insane ordeal is taking place directly after the city decided to cut funding and resources from its police department and to completely shut down the Portland police unit whose sole job was to reduce gun violence in the city, the Gun Violence Reduction Team, which was abolished last June as a knee jerk reaction to the death of George Floyd while being held in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland, disagreed with that idea. Wheeler stated that the rising murder rate that was being witnessed in Portland was because of a rise in the murder rates in other major cities around the country and that the trend did not connect at all to the “Defund the Police” movement.
“I believe if [the Gun Violence Reduction Team] were [around] today, we would still see a substantial, if not identical increase, in shootings in Portland,” Wheeler stated. “This is clearly part of a larger national trend.”