Portlanders take action over explosion of car thefts
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - According to Portland police, the most recent set of data, from July 2022 to July 2023, there have been 10,520 reported stolen cars.
That is about 28 daily reported car thefts over the course of a year.
Portlander Sarah Jane helps run the Facebook group, PNW Stolen Cars, with over 100,000 members across the region. For the last two years, Jane has made it her mission to help others recover stolen cars posted in the group chat.
“Right as we came out of COVID it seemed like it just spiked and it was just getting worse,” said Jane.
Jane says she sometimes averages three recoveries a day, and that thieves usually steal cars to commit other crimes, or sell the car’s parts.
“There’s the kind that steal them, probably use them for something then ditch them,” said Jane. “Then there’s that secondhand thief where you’ll probably see a car parted out.”
According to Portland Police Bureau data, the top three neighborhoods in the last year for auto thefts are Hazelwood, Northwest Portland, and Lents. The most common days of the week for car thefts reported were Saturdays between 6 p.m. and midnight. Jane says many of the recovered stolen cars posted in the Facebook group she runs are found in remote patches of land in Northeast and Southeast Portland.
“Definitely NE Portland over by Marine Drive, Airport Way,” said Jane. “If I were to just go up and down every road, I could probably find more than half of what’s posted in Oregon.”
Jane says that while she assists the theft victims in filing a police report, they feel they do not get the response that they need.
“Depending on officers, then reading on the group that officers can’t respond, it’s incredibly frustrating,” she said. “I can respond, and I will.”
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