Homicides Surge, But What Did City Expect?

Portland, Oregon is experiencing a violent crime surge, with 51 slayings already reported. iStock-884203732

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- Portland, Oregon “is on track to shatter gun violence records this year,” according to KATU News, the local ABC affiliate, but what they’re really talking about is the number of murders in the Rose City so far in 2021, in an environment that has been dominated by violent protests for 14 months, and $15 million cut from the police bureau budget.

KGW News, the local NBC affiliate, is reporting that the police agency has lost 125 officers during the past year, and Mayor Ted Wheeler has acknowledged, “It is obvious from where I sit that we do not have adequate resources deployed on our streets in a proactive way.”

The city experienced a mass shooting over the weekend that left an 18-year-old woman dead and several others wounded. According to the OregonLive/Portland Oregonian, “the Police Bureau’s effort to set up a new uniformed team of officers to address gun violence remains a challenge.”

No surprise there, since US News recalled that in the wake of last year’s death of George Floyd while being restrained by a Minneapolis police officer, Portland erupted in violent protests. “In the wake of sustained protests and calls to defund the police last summer,” US News said, “Portland’s City Commission cut some funding and disbanded the gun violence reduction unit.”

Portland has logged 51 homicides so far this year, and there are still five months to go. Last year, the city posted 55 murders, according to the Oregonian. This follows a report by KPTV News on July 14 that the city had posted 48 slayings, and “So many people have been killed in Portland this year that detectives are having trouble keeping up with the number of cases.”

There is something else. KATU is also reporting that community activists are complaining, “Because a lot of the victims are young black people, I don’t think it’s getting the severity that it deserves.”

But there does not appear to be as much concern about who has been doing the shooting. There have been arrests in fewer than half of the reported homicides, according to KPTV.

Oregon lawmakers pushed hard on gun control issues in Salem earlier this year. And the KATU report said most of the 51 people murdered so far were “killed…by gun violence.”

A recent opinion at Liberty Park Press put the media and gun control proponents on the spot about repeatedly using the term “gun violence.”

While firearms get the blame, and the Democrat-controlled legislature continued to penalize law-abiding gun owners, OregonLive.com acknowledged police “have had little success in finding two sergeants and 12 officers to sign up for” a new uniformed squad called the “Focused Intervention Team.”  But as the news agency acknowledged, “Officers are very aware that many residents and city councilors don’t want police to recreate the Gun Violence Reduction Team or its precursor, the Gang Enforcement Team.”

Therein lies the problem, it appears. As reported by the Oregonian, “The city disbanded the Gun Violence Reduction Team last year as part of a $15 million cut to the police budget, citing concerns about its disproportionate stops of people of color.”

And the newspaper also reported that “A key component is to have a 12-member community oversight group to monitor the team’s actions. The city has moved forward and selected 12 people to serve as members of the group,” so it appears there will be some sort of citizen oversight.

What’s happening in Portland may be a microcosm of what is happening nationally. Violence is on the upswing in major cities, including Washington, D.C. where a shooting outside of Nationals Park caused a sixth-inning shutdown of the baseball game Saturday evening. The shooting was between “people in two vehicles,” according to the New York Times. Three people were treated for gunshot wounds, including a female bystander.

In Chicago, “At least 11 people were killed and 45 others were injured in shootings,” Fox News reported.

But instead of blaming individuals, gun control proponents will continue affixing blame to guns and penalizing gun owners who had nothing to do with any of these crimes.

In Seattle, according to MyNorthwest.com, there were nine homicides in June.

“That’s the highest number of recorded homicides Seattle has seen in June since 2008,” the story said, “the earliest year publicly available from the Seattle Crime Dashboard. It represents a 125% higher homicide rate than in June of 2020.”

And the year isn’t over, yet. Two months remain in the summer, and early autumn in major cities can produce several murders as well.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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