New police data shows uptick in Portland bias crime reports - KPTV - FOX 12

New police data shows uptick in Portland bias crime reports

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Portland is on track to break a 2-year record, but not a good one.

The city’s LGBTQ Pride Festival is this weekend and there may be some concern about safety with new numbers from Portland police regarding hate crime.

Since April, there have been triple the amount of bias crimes reported as those from the same period last year. Police have investigated nine such crime reports in the past two and a half months. In all of 2016, the Portland Police Bureau investigated 10 such cases.

In 2015, the number was 11 for the year.

Portland police spokesman Pete Simpson says this year’s numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt, saying sometimes it’s difficult for police to track the data themselves and sometimes there isn’t enough evidence to charge someone with a bias crime.

But Simpson did want to acknowledge that the uptick was disturbing, and community members and office members have noticed uneasiness.

"We know that not all things are reported to police.  We know the actual number is higher. That is something that we are certain of, based on conversations with people in the community. This year though, the numbers are increasing - both anecdotally and reporting,” Simpson said.

Portland police say they hope to ease fears by adding extra patrols downtown for this weekend’s festival. About 60,000 people are expected to flood the waterfront to attend the Pride Festival, which is expected to be the city’s largest ever.

Festival organizers told FOX 12 that the LGTBQ community is feeling more anxious and less safe recently, so a new security plan is in place.

Another Portland festival recently received threats, the “Good in the Hood Festival” that is scheduled for next week

Under Oregon law, bias crimes are defined as criminal acts targeting a victim based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin

Portland police urge anyone who witnesses a potential bias crime to report it.

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