Portland residents concern being assaulted or encountering individuals experiencing a psychological well being disaster whereas strolling round city, in line with a latest survey, however these Fox News spoke with had combined opinions about security within the metropolis.
“I walk around all the time and during the day I feel fine,” stated Amber, who not too long ago moved to Portland from California. “I still keep my wits about me and I’m cautious, but I don’t feel like I’m really in any danger.”
But Brenda disagreed.
“I’m worried about being physically attacked,” she informed Fox News. “It’s not safe. It’s just flat not safe.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler commissioned the survey from native agency DHM Research. Nearly half (48%) of the 500 Portlanders who responded felt unsafe strolling alone at night time in their very own neighborhood. Of those that felt unsafe, 78% informed researchers they have been afraid of being bodily assaulted.
“I’m not going to live in fear, but we’re a lot more aware of our surroundings,” Meredith stated. “I won’t walk alone as often. I used to just walk all over, no thought about it, at night. I think twice now.”
There have been 5,960 reported crimes in July, the newest month for which police statistics can be found. That’s up barely from 5,618 the identical month final year. Theft, vandalism and assault have been the most typical offenses reported.
People dwelling on town’s east aspect have been extra prone to concern being bodily attacked than these in west Portland, in line with the survey. Of feminine respondents who felt unsafe, 81% stated they feared being assaulted in comparison with 74% of males.
“I’m sure a lot of people don’t feel safe,” stated Jon, who was visiting from Seattle. “I do, but I’m not a 120-pound woman walking by herself at night.”
Shane agreed that there’s a gender divide.
“My partner is physically smaller than I am … she feels completely uncomfortable being out and about downtown,” he stated. “She started carrying pepper spray with her.”
As a “tall guy,” Shane stated he thinks he’s much less of a goal.
“Also, I don’t really look like I have a lot of money,” he stated, laughing.
Amber stated she will get nervous at night time or in neighborhoods perceived as extra harmful. She stated she has been yelled at and adopted by strangers and makes positive to remain alert.
“It is the people who have mental health issues because you don’t really know how they’re going to react,” she stated. “I don’t hearken to something in my headphones. I at all times have my pepper spray on my keychain.
She added that she always appears over her shoulder, “so I’m not oblivious to my surroundings.”
Concerns about interacting with individuals experiencing psychological well being crises or drug intoxication are entrance and heart on many Portlanders’ minds, in line with the survey and residents Fox News spoke with.
“Taking our granddaughters for walks and finding syringes on the ground and things like that, it’s disheartening,” Meredith stated.
The Portland Police Bureau has suffered from staffing shortages since 2020 and at present has greater than 100 sworn police vacancies, in line with the bureau. As anti-police protests rocked town in 2020, the metropolis council voted to chop the division’s funds by $15 million, although activists had demanded cuts of $50 million.
Many officers have retired or left to work in different cities, citing dissatisfaction with metropolis management and poor morale throughout the months of nightly protests.
“I think we need more police,” Brenda stated. She can perceive why individuals don’t wish to turn into officers, however the metropolis isn’t doing sufficient to advertise security, she stated.
More than half of the survey respondents informed researchers they didn’t suppose police would reply rapidly to an emergency, in line with the outcomes, which have been obtained by Fox News.
“With the police force, overburdened people think they can do anything now,” Carol informed Fox News. “I feel like it won’t always be like this, but right now we’re in the midst of … lawlessness.”
Portland has seen a sharper enhance in violent crime than many different main cities. Homicides within the metropolis elevated 83% from 2019 to 2020, whereas nationally killings elevated by a median of about 30%. There have been 90 homicides within the metropolis final year, breaking town’s earlier document of 66 in 1987, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
“They show a lot of stuff I know on the news about the shootings … and I’m sure they’re up,” Dave stated. “But up over what? There used to be very little.”
“I think the news has definitely made this area out to be a lot more chaotic,” Shane stated.