New Portland police data shows steady decline in gun violence

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 5:31 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - It’s encouraging news about a problem plaguing the City of Roses.

New crime data from the Portland Police Bureau shows the number of deadly shootings has dropped by 56% compared to this time last year. Overall shootings have also dropped by 34% in Portland too. Community-based organizations that have spent a lot of time over the last year to try and prevent gun violence said this data shows what their doing is working. Lionel Irving, CEO of Love is Stronger G.V., said the community should take this as a small win because there is still a lot of work to do.

“It makes me optimistic that we’re headed in the right way but it also makes me cautious that I don’t think we got the problem solved,” Irving said.

He credits much of his organization’s success over the last few months to the millions of dollars given out to non-profits through Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Safe Summer PDX program.

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“We had a lot of great momentum and that’s what drove these numbers,” Irving said. “So we need to see this same kind of energy, where it’s all-inclusive, all hands on deck, and everybody is collaborating with each other.”

Irving said with the money Love is Stronger G.V. received through Safe Summer PDX last year, he was able to employ more people to go on the street and help diffuse 400 situations that would have ended in gunfire. He wants the city to fund this program on a yearly basis before summer starts so his team can continue with early intervention.

“That’s my message to the Mayor,” Irving said. “Continue to allow guys like me to do the work, continue to support us, and continue to put us in a position to be successful so we can tell the stories about the work we do. So other community members can see that there are guys in between people and guns.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler reacted to the encouraging data in a statement to FOX 12:

“The early data is very promising and we will continue to monitor it, but our work is far from done. Portlanders’ safety remains a top priority for the Mayor, especially as we enter the warmer months.’

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Even with the downward trend of gun violence, Irving wants to remind the community many murders are still unsolved. Like the case of his nephew, Donte Davis, who was shot and killed at the Northeast Portland street corner where he chatted with FOX 12.

“We know at every murder scene is where new shooters are created,” Irving said. “o there are new shooters running around and a bunch of potential new shooters running around here. We need to engage with these guys to deter them so they don’t actually become new shooters.”