For several years, Portland was the pinnacle of artistic community. Its oddball style appealed to many and drew thousands to the city. There was even a comedy series, Portlandia, that celebrated its diversity.
But…those days are gone. And you can blame anyone that supported the “defund the police” campaign.
A new report from Fox News reveals that the city, which was one the “crown jewel of the West Coast,” has now fallen into hard times, mainly due to rising crime within the communities.
In fact, police data shows that crime has dramatically increased over that of other states – including Chicago and New York.
Speaking with Fox News, Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton explained, “Each area has different challenges, but what we’re seeing in the metro area is absolutely rising crime.”
Spread across Multnomah County, Washington County and Clackamas County, the crime has reached astronomical levels, forcing both citizens and businesses to flee elsewhere.
“The increases that we’re seeing are nothing like the increases that we’re seeing in our neighbors,” Barton explained.
“What’s happening is with our de-carceration and elimination of bail culture, we’ve got all these people running around,” Kristin Olson, a trial attorney and host of the Rational in Portland podcast, added. “And it’s really scary because we also have this anti-police culture.”
So how did it come to this? It’s simple – Portland succumbed to those rioters that believed defunding the police would be the answer.
You may recall this heinous campaign that launched in 2020, following the death of George Floyd. Thousands got the insane idea that taking funding away from the police would be the definitive answer for his death, and would make this nation great.
But what happened from the fallout of that? Thousands of officers have left their jobs, either by retirement, simply being tired of their job or, in some extreme cases, suicide; millions of dollars have gone into other campaigns that have since failed to launch off the ground; and some politicians have become jaded, still believing that police officers are the problem even as their cities erupt into criminal chaos.
The biggest thing, however? The rise in criminal activity. It’s ravaged a lot of cities over the past couple of years, including Denver, Los Angeles and several others. And yet, these politicians still don’t have an answer when the clear one is sitting right in front of their faces – restore the police budget.
Oregon State Police data made it very clear that crime is increasing due to a lower police presence, with an increase over nine percent compared to the previous year.
So…why aren’t city officials doing anything about it? Because they refuse to admit that they’re wrong. They refuse to admit that “defunding the police” was the incorrect answer. Even as their Portland-based businesses fall apart and citizens move away for greener pastures, towards people that actually care about them.
It doesn’t help that President Biden is twiddling his thumbs as well. A while back – sorry, a long while back – he vowed to “fund the police” with a new campaign, after months of supporting “defund the police.” But you might notice that there’s been nothing introduced to Congress or the Senate, despite the best efforts of our Republicans to get something going. (You can thank the middling Democrats who still believe in “defunding the police” for that.)
Something needs to be done. Someone in the Biden administration (or perhaps someone who actually cares about what’s happening) needs to take a closer look at Portland and let it serve as an example of what will happen to these states if they don’t give the police the proper support they deserve. Otherwise, I fear where the next turn in this country will take. Imagine every city ending up the way that Portland is. Scary thought, isn’t it?
My heart goes out to the police working in the streets of Portland, as well as the citizens and businesses that continue to support them. They’re fighting a good fight when the people that can actually get anything done refuse to. And that has to be the most frustrating aspect of all.
Michael Letts is the Founder, President, and CEO of InVest USA, a national grassroots non-profit organization that is helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs. He also has over 30 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, hence his pro-police stance for his brothers and sisters in blue.