PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The number of shootings in Portland so far this year have more than doubled since 2020.
On Tuesday, FOX 12 took a dive into the numbers, looking at how Portland’s gun violence homicides measure against other cities.
Now, Portland State University Criminology and Criminal Justice Professor Kris Henning is weighing in on what this all means and overall crime trends.
Henning says it’s important to understand context.
Over the last five years he says Portland’s seen a rise in violent crime.
According to the Portland Police Bureau, there have been 474 shootings in Portland this year which is more than double the number of shootings from this time last year.
This particular spike he says is surprising and concerning for the city.
“It's really unheard of to see a homicide rate go up as much as it has in the last year but also over the last five years,” Henning said.
Henning says historically Portland’s had low rates of violent crime in comparison to other cities across the country.
He says in one study looking at 34 cities, most saw an increase in homicides from 2019 to 2020.
“The difference that we see in Portland is that our increase was almost twice what it was across the average of those other 34 cities,” Henning said.
Henning says there’s something unique and concerning that’s happening in the City of Roses.
On Tuesday, FOX 12 reported in the similar sized city of Nashville it had 51 gun violence deaths.
That’s compared to Portland’s 33 gun violence deaths.
“I probably wouldn't have chosen Nashville, it's population size is not the only thing that matters. again it's the composition it's the historical patterns in terms of crime,” Henning said. “The southern states historically have had higher rates of violent crime. There's some demographic differences in those states certainly some poverty differences in those states.”
In Seattle, a city that has about 100,000 more people FOX 12 reported as of Tuesday there were nine gun violence deaths so far this year.
“It's even more shocking when you consider it's a bigger city up there,” Henning said. “So if you compare the cities based on rate, again there's no question that there's something distinct that's going on here in Portland that is of concern.”
Henning points to a couple of factors that may be contributing to Portland’s increase in gun violence deaths.
He says gun sales are up, there are fewer officers and a lack of community proactive policing as well as a national trend of distrust in police.