Multnomah County Sheriff releases open letter on rise of violent crimes

Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 5:17 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) Violent crime in Multnomah County have been on the rise over the last couple of years. Multnomah County Sheriff, Mike Reese, released an open letter to the community on his plans to help make neighborhoods safer.

Sheriff Reese said there has been an increase in murder-related crimes since 2020. At the start of April, there was 102 people in Multnomah County jails for murder-related charges and over 50% of the jail population are people charged with crimes like murder, sexual violence and robbery.

So far in 2022, there have been 28 bookings for crimes like murder and attempted murder.

Right now, Multnomah County is on pace to tie or surpass 2021, which is the single highest year-to-year increase since 2015 and 1994. But Sheriff Reese wants to keep that from happening.

“It’s again, unprecedented what’s happening, and we need to step into this with a sense of urgency to do everything we can to prevent additional loss of life,” said Reese.

Community violence includes gun violence but there’s also been record- high levels of traffic fatalities and overdose deaths.

“Pattern is not unchanged. It’s growing. We know that as summer approaches, that’s a time when we see an increase in crime in our community especially violent crime like gun violence,” said Reese.

Sheriff Reese has already begun to propose action. Things like remove firearms from those who are at risk to themselves and others.

“We have a team of deputies that work with our court system. That says a victim has done everything they can to protect themselves in the situation. They’ve gone to court, they got a restraining order the judge said that person, that offender, shouldn’t have a firearm, we got a team of Deputies that takes that firearm out of the mix,” said Reese.

Also, on that list, reduce impaired and reckless driving, create and fully staff multi-disciplinary teams of responders for homeless, help fund organizations to help youth and communities of color and provide deputies to investigate drugs flooding communities. Sheriff Reese’s first order of business will be traffic safety.

“If you overlay it from a data perspective where gun violence is occurring, you’re going to see some overlap. With boots on the ground. You can focus them based on time of day and day of week and the geographic area where these events are happening.”

Sheriff Reese is asking for support from the community and if they would like to help, they can help fund organizations that do community-based work.

“We want to do everything we can to prevent additional loss of life in our community to make sure everyone feels safe and welcome in Multnomah County.”