Portland Street Level Crime Watch Starts April 1, 2014

An article in today’s The Oregonian reveals Portland’s increased efforts to fight street level crime starting April 1, 2014.  According to the article, the geographic focus of the “street-crime sweep” will be downtown, inner east side and Hawthorne district.  The article mentions, “the team of nine officers and one sergeant will have the choice to walk, bike, ride ATV’s or patrol in cars to focus on quality-of-life problems, such as public urination, open-air drug deals, public consumption of alcohol or threatening behavior”.  The street-crime sweep will operate through November 1, 2014.

The article further mentions the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office plan to add another District Attorney to help with increased criminal filings as a result of law enforcements efforts to curb criminal activity.

The article cited a recent stabbing of a 39 year old transient man under the Burnside Bridge last Friday as one example of law enforcement’s need to increase their presence in the community, “this was the second cutting / stabbing we had down there” Day said.”  We believe it was enough of a public safety concern that we needed to secure the sidewalk … Things had reached a tipping point when a person is nearly killed.  I’m not intending to back off of this strategy.”  Day is Central Precinct Cmdr. Bob Day.

But is this soon to be launched crime prevention program a thinly disguised effort to focus on the city’s homeless.

Israel Bayer, executive director of Street Roots is quoted in the article as saying, “We have long welcomed the idea of more police officers on walking beats to create an environment where they’re not only responding to violent crimes, but also looking out for people as well, ” Bayer said, “what we don’t want to see happen is police just targeting homeless people for petty crimes.”

According to Commander Day, ‘he hopes the patrol officers will also spend time reaching out to the people who live and work in their district when not responding to emergencies”.

To read the article in its entirely, please click the following link.