Portland police plead with the public to help 'break the cycle of violence' in the city amid shootings and murders surges.
Violence in Portland has skyrocketed in recent months, with riots resulting in significant property damage, killings, and multiple arrests.
According to Portland Police Bureau (PPB) statistics, the city reported more homicides in 2020 than it has in almost three decades.
The report shows there were as many as 850 shootings as of December 2020, which is more than double the city reported in 2019.
Local news outlets also reported that Portland saw at least 53 murders as of December 24, 2020. This shocking figure is the highest yearly total the city has seen since the 90s.
And according to the police, it will take community efforts to reduce gun violence in the city.
Pleading with the community for support, the city's police chief, Chuck Lovell, said on Twitter:
"Gun violence [in 2020] has plagued our city at twice the rate of . On average, someone is shot in Portland roughly every two days."
Lovell also pointed out 2020 was 'a deadly year' for Portland. He urged the public not to 'lose sight of the fact that these are human beings who have died.'
Comparing the spike in crime to the ongoing pandemic, he added:
"We've come together to mask up, to stay home to keep others safe. We have come together to do our best to stop the spread of a deadly disease."
"Violence is also a disease that kills. And our community is suffering the consequences."
However, there's no clear plan yet on how police are planning to handle the sharp rise in gun violence.
As per reports, Portland police have been leaving their shifts exhausted from the ongoing unrests that often devolve into riots.
As a result, at least nine officers have resigned from the department since November last year.
Another 14 have filed papers to leave by the end of January 2021. Seven others have also made filings for their retirement. Reports add that more than 25 officers in Portland are also looking to transfer.
The spike in gun violence could be due to Portland officials' efforts to 'defund the police.'
In July last year, the city council voted to disband the police department's Gun Violence Reduction Team, which defunded police operations by $15 million.
And in November, the city also passed another proposal to strip an additional $18 million from the department's $229 million yearly budget.