In August 2013, the Portland Police Bureau issued the most recent violent crime statistics. Violent crimes or part 1 offenses as they are referred to, have declined almost 10% since the previous year. Part I crimes hit their peak in the late 1980s and have slowly tapered since then.
Although the actual statistics report that dangerous crime has decreased, citizens of Portland perceive crime as a growing problem because of extensive media coverage.
Police chief Michael Reese says that although violent crime is on the decline, police still have their hands full with mental health issues and social issues like suicide and drug addiction. The media doesn’t usually report on these things, so to the viewer is inundated with stories on the more exciting, violent crime.
Experts reason that crime may be waning because of several factors; the Baby Boomer generation is getting older, crack cocaine use is down, police are making better use of technology, and people are being more proactive about trying to prevent crime.
Mayor Charlie Hales credits the Portland police and their collaboration with the community to get the city moving in the right direction. In the last 50 years, crime was at its lowest in the early 1960s and in 2012 the rates compared to the mid-1960s.
The mayor cites the social contract between police and citizens as a motivation for trying to reduce crime.
Police warn citizens to continue their vigilant attitudes toward preventable crime; lock car doors and don’t leave valuables in plain view, close garage doors and make sure exterior lights are working.
Source: Portland Police Bureau