Police: Gang violence breaking records in Portland - KPTV - FOX 12

Police: Gang violence breaking records in Portland

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Portland Police officers and community members meeting Wednesday evening. Portland Police officers and community members meeting Wednesday evening.
Community members gathered for police meeting on gang violence Wednesday. Community members gathered for police meeting on gang violence Wednesday.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

It’s the kind of record nobody wants to break.

Gang violence in Portland this year is already exceeding police records, and 2015 is far from over.

Portland Police announced Wednesday that Gang Enforcement Team (GET) members have responded to 121 instances of gang violence so far in 2015 (as of September 1st).

For the same time period in 2014, that number was 89.

That record-breaking pace brings the number of violent crimes associated with gang activity in Portland over the last five years to nearly 600.

“It’s not a solution we’re going to easily come up with,” Lt. Mike Krantz told Fox 12 Wednesday.  “This has been a problem that’s been going on for a long time, it’s never going to stop completely, but reduction and safety is our number one priority.”

Lt. Krantz was one of several officers who met with community leaders and neighbors Wednesday night at King School Park, where shots were fired Tuesday night and at least 18 rounds were fired August 24th, hitting a mother of two in the hand and riddling a parked van with bullet holes.

“It’s unsettling and I don’t know what to do about it, and that was kind of why I came tonight,” neighbor Audra Duran said.

Several speakers advocated for more community involvement, like volunteering for park patrols or violence prevention programs.

“I think [this meeting] it’s a start, so how can that be bad?” neighbor Tanisha Jones said.  “You kind of have to look beyond the act of what’s going on and perhaps take the time to understand where other people’s lives and walks of lives have been, and what’s causing them to make those choices and decisions.”

Six officers and a crime analyst were added to the Gang Enforcement Team in June, and while several arrests have been made and guns linked to gang activity have been seized, a number of cases remain unsolved.

To learn more about community-led campaigns and youth violence prevention, visit https://www.facebook.com/EnoughIsEnoughPDX and http://www.portlandonline.com/safeyouth/.

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