Back in 2020 when Democratic-run cities decided it would be a good idea to give in to angry mobs of protestors and defund local police and other authoritative agencies, no city's voice seemed louder than that of Portland. The city's leaders cut police funding by $15 million leaving the city largely in the hands of the angry, violent mobs that had forced the move.
Now, 3 years later with the city sinking under skyrocketing crime rates, a shrinking tax base, and shuttered businesses, Portland seems to have finally realized that it needs police, but replacing the force it all but threw away is proving to be an uphill battle. The city is struggling to attract new officers, DAs, and investigators given its leaders' recent history of turning their backs on law enforcement. Potential replacements know better than to go where they're not wanted.
The lack of candidates for its underfunded and under-appreciated police force and court system is making it difficult for a newly launched task force to fulfill its purpose and crack down on retail and vehicle theft in what now appears to be a lawless city.
Crime rates have risen so drastically since 2020, that Portland residents are now 3 times more likely to be the victim of a property crime than the average U.S. citizen, according to data from Neighborhood Scout. Portland had 63,000 property thefts in 2022 along with roughly 11,000 stolen vehicles - a new record for the city that doesn't need police.
Now, residents who have the means to do so are fleeing the city and taking their businesses with them. Public data has shown that since the pandemic, more than 2,600 businesses left downtown Portland and filed for changes of address with USPS.
Not only has the city been left trying to replace the $15 million it cut from its budget for police and the officers themselves, but now Portland is having to find a way to reinstate its police force with limited funding as its tax base continues to shrink as more residents pack up and leave.
Meanwhile, according to a report by Zerohedge, most of the remaining local police officers have been doing everything they can to get off the force. Officers have not only been quitting at an alarmingly fast pace but there has also been a substantial uptick in early retirements and transfer requests to other municipalities.
To complicate matters further, the police who have survived the past 3 years have become discouraged by liberal prosecutors who never take cases to court, instead opting to return criminals to the streets.
Meanwhile, it is unlikely that defunding the police, which was done wholeheartedly and briskly, can be undone as quickly and thoroughly. It is far easier to cut $15 million than it is to raise it - a lesson the Portland City Council and the city's residents have had to learn the hard way.
It's a tough time to be a Portland resident, but a great time to be a criminal. As for the city's police force, it will take years, possibly decades, to rebuild what the City Council destroyed in a matter of months.
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