Police: Gang-related violence on the rise in Portland metro area - KPTV - FOX 12

Police: Gang-related violence on the rise in Portland metro area

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Portland Police Bureau reports the amount of serious gang-related crime, especially shootings, are increasing city wide.

The Gang Enforcement Team (GET) reports in 2014, there were 109 reported serious gang-related crime. This includes attempted murders, stabbings but mostly shootings.

GET reports its record was last year when the numbers nearly doubled to 193 serious gang-related crimes. 

So far in 2016, there’s been a report of 106 gang-related crimes.

The most recent occurred near Southeast 136th and Powell where police say its investigating a gang-related shooting which involved nearly a dozen people. There were no reports of injuries.

Demarcus Preston said he was a former gang member in the 80s and now works with Unify Portland, an organization that helps gang members get off the streets. He believes the reason there is an increase of shootings is because of gentrification. 

“That pushed everyone to the same area of the city,” Preston said.

Preston adds the dynamic in gang members have changed from when he was on the streets. Previously, it’s been known that different gangs are represented through colors, but now it’s more difficult to spot. 

“It’s those guys that dress like me, look like me,” Preston said.

Over the weekend, Preston said Unify Portland hosted a day filled with activities and many people of different gangs were there. Preston adds, people need something positive to do so they do not feel the need to act with violence.

Preston said his mission is to pull people out of gangs and provide a different avenue for their future.

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