Portland, Oregan | Portland has seen what has been described as a ‘surge’ in gun violence after it saw widespread calls for the police to be ‘defunded’ in the wake of the death of George Floyd last year.
Amid calls for social workers to attend calls, pressure groups also sought to divert funding away from the police to fund ‘community projects’.
There are reports that dozens of police officers resigned from the department, leaving a severe dent in the department’s ability to respond to and deter serious criminal behaviour.
As has been reported by KATU2 ABC, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler reiterated this week that addressing gun violence is now a ‘priority’ for city leaders.
This announcement comes as some community members voiced serious concerns that 2021 will be worse than 2020 without immediate action.
The mayor outlined a comprehensive plan to address gun violence through law enforcement and its Office of Violence Prevention.
”Addressing gun violence is the top public safety priority for the city of Portland right now,” said Wheeler, who led off a meeting on Wednesday with a message to families of the victims lost in 2020 and the first month of 2021.
On Wednesday morning alone, three people were shot during a spate of unrelated violent incidents.
In Jan 2021, the city endured 100 shootings, nearly double the figure of 51 shootings that happened in Jan 2020.
According to the Washington Examiner, Mayor Wheeler has requested $2 million in emergency funding for the police department, pointing directly to the surge in gun violence.
At this point last year, Portland had seen just one homicide. So far this year, that number is 20, with 208 shootings in the city as of March.
Wheeler reportedly backed the Portland City Council’s decision to cut $15 million from the police budget last June, including disbanding police units that investigate and tackle serious gun violence.
The city reportedly saw 100 consecutive days of violent rioting last year.
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