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Portland Forms Task Force to Combat Recent Car and Retail Thefts

You are currently viewing Portland Forms Task Force to Combat Recent Car and Retail Thefts
Car and retail theft needs to be stopped in Portland!
  • Post category:News

Portland has recently found itself victim to an increased amount of organized auto and retail theft, leaving the citizens disgruntled and distressed. The District Attorney of Multnomah County, Mike Schmidt, and the Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, announced on the first of May that they will be putting together a task force to combat this influx in crime.

Between the county and city, $788,000 will be budgeted for the task force. The task force will be composed of two deputy district attorneys, two district attorney investigators, and a legal assistant. They will be focusing their energies on taking down prolific shoplifters and car thieves, this being people with several cases of thievery open against them.

Over the past few years, police data reflects a steady increase in car theft and shoplifting cases.

At this point, shoplifting has become so commonplace that many shopkeepers have stopped reporting the cases. News sources have even recorded coverage of people walking into a number of stores and walking out with stolen merchandise, and no one even blinking an eye.

The top prosecutor of Multnomah County even spoke about an experience in which he witnessed shoplifting. He said, “I’m in the Lego aisle with my son and we saw somebody scoop up a bunch of Legos and walk out. I think we’ve all seen it.”

In November of 2022, it was found that the prosecution rate for misdemeanor petty theft cases in the city of Portland was 46%.

That number means that more than half of the cases were not charged, but rather dismissed altogether. Usually, this happened due to lack of significant evidence. This is where the task force comes in; having extra hands allows them to dig for more evidence, collect more interviews, and look for surveillance videos.

The District Attorney, Mike Schmidt, thinks that the implementation of the task force will have an immediate impact on the cases. They will be able to gather more evidence in time and present more sound arguments.

In terms of the battle against auto theft, Portland police are working on building a program that will use data science to track down stolen cars. They hope to have a solid program that will help them identify if a car is stolen or not and from there, they anticipate being able to return it to its rightful owner and prosecute the thief.

It is imperative that they find a program that works in the way they hope, as car theft in 2022 had gotten so bad that about 11,000 cars were stolen within just Portland city limits, forming an average of a car being stolen once every 48 minutes in the city. These numbers are scary and, in 2023, still steadily rising.

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