Portland Police Bureau increases walking presence in downtown for holiday season
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - As the holiday season begins, the Portland Police Bureau has committed to increasing their presence downtown.
Chief Bob Day announced an increase in walking beats in areas where there has been an uptick in retail theft. The extra beats, which began Monday, will involve officers traveling in pairs to survey certain blocks. They will continue these beats from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the week until the New Year.
Lieutenant Derrick Foxworth spoke to FOX 12 on his first day on the job, saying that walking allows them to accomplish things that they can’t while driving.
“A lot of the time if you’re in a car you’re just call to call to call, and so we’ve been relieved of that duty, and we’re able to slow down a little bit and just have these conversations with folks,” Foxworth said.
The businesses they spoke to during their first beat were relieved to have a little extra help.
“People are just happy to see us, we’ve had a couple contacts with some of the businesses that have felt some of the impacts of retail theft, and they’re definitely happy to see police presence down here,” he said.
FOX 12 spoke with several downtown business owners who didn’t want to appear on camera, but they agreed with what Foxworth said, saying the increase in retail theft this time of year is undeniable, and they fear that holiday business will be impacted if people are too afraid to walk around.
Multiple people said they have noticed the increased security and have felt more at ease.
The beats will focus on the core of downtown and in Northwest Portland over the duration of the holidays.
Foxworth hopes he can help people feel safe enough to participate in the joy of the season.
“I think with the rise in crime we’ve seen over the past couple of years, I think this is one step that PPB as a community safety partner can do,” he said. “We’re out here, we’re in the shopping court, feel safe to come down, the Christmas season is coming up…and being able to engage and shop and partake in things that are down here.”
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