60% more stolen cars: ‘Not a lot can be done about it’

Winter months typically see even more auto thefts

The parking lot at Ashlyn Sanders' apartment complex where her car was stolen. (KOIN)

GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland and Gresham have seen a dramatic increase in stolen car reports over the last year.

Ashlyn Sanders knows the issue first hand – her car was one of 3 stolen from her Gresham apartment complex last week.

“I got called into cover a shift really early that morning, and I walked out of my house at 5:15 and my car was gone,” Sanders tells KOIN 6 News.

Gresham Police Sgt. Tom Walker says he responded to 10 reports of stolen cars that night. “It’s just been a dramatic increase over the past year,” Sgt. Walker says.

In Portland, where officers have investigated more than 7500 stolen vehicle reports in the last year, the staffing crisis is keeping officers from doing more active policing.

“It’s not because we don’t want to, but because right now we are trying to respond to 9-1-1 calls,” Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley says.

Statistically, the months with the highest number of stolen vehicles happen in the winter.

“It’s becoming a huge issue, and it’s just really frustrating that not a lot can be done about it,” Sanders says.