Gang violence up, number of officers down

Portland Police down 200 officers since the year 2000

Daryl Turner, the president of the Portland Police Association, April 4, 2016 (KOIN)
Daryl Turner, the president of the Portland Police Association, April 4, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland residents are expressing concern Monday morning after instances of gang violence over the weekend.

Over the weekend several Portland homes were hit with bullets in gang-related shootings. There have been more than 40 gang violence situations already this year.

The head of the Portland Police Union said it’s no surprise we’re seeing this level of gang violence so early in the year. “Traditionally the city’s grown faster than the hiring can keep up,” said Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson. “The bureau’s taken cuts and we’re down 200 officers since the year 2000.”

Officers were once a constant presence in Portland neighborhoods, paroling and working with gang members and building relationships with at-risk youth. Programs to keep kids out of trouble including the Police summer camp have been cut due to the shortage of officers.

The city is working to attract more officers, but a nationwide shortage is making it difficult.

Daryl Turner with the Portland Police said residents can help keep their homes safe. “They need to work with the police and call in tips, he said. “Our best information comes from people who live in the neighborhoods.”

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