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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 17, 2009 10:33 AM. The previous post in this blog was Paulson as employer: worse than Wal-Mart. The next post in this blog is He can't handle *telling* the truth. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Eight cops, 15 square miles

The horrible, tragic story of a Portland murder prompts a reader to write:

I didn’t know [the victim], but I had just heard from *** that she had been at a neighborhood meeting where a gentleman asked the cop in attendance what he can do about this crazy neighbor he has who’s been threatening him, had put sugar in his gas tank, and harassed him for months now, and the cops had never responded once to his calls about this guy. He was told there are eight cops on patrol between I-5 and 205 from I-84 north to the river. That whole rectangle has eight cops at any time. They aren’t going to come mess with some dude’s crazy neighbor. He can make a citizen’s arrest, is what the cop told him. She wouldn’t even directly answer him when he asked if he should get a Taser. She said, "You can use reasonable force, whatever that means to you."

I told *** about the stabbing murder and she was devastated when she heard the news. She texted me back a little while ago -- it wasn’t the same neighbor. He’s still alive apparently, but the point remains -- we’ve pared back police services so much that two citizens that we know of in the last week have cried out for help with crazy neighbors and now one of them is dead, and there is nothing we can do about it. Unemployment has gone parabolic, summer’s just around the corner, gang-related violence is on the rise, and we have eight cops on the beat for a 15-square mile territory. Go by streetcar, indeed.

Please find a way to post something about this. This is only the beginning.

Comments (15)

This is the real trade-off we face when we value ribbon-cutting projects over beat-pounding cops. I hope you readers will reach out to Amanda and Nick and let them know that with unemployment on the rise (We're #2!) and summer on the way, it's going to be very, very bad around here if we don't get some beefed-up policing.

The proper response to evil or madness is one of the important discussions of all time. Thomas Aquinas, Augustine and many more have considered it. As a young man, single, devout, naive, I had a response. Now as a father, husband, still devout, I have another. When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.
Thanks Prof Jack, for considering this topic.

>
> At 5:35 in the video, the reporter asks, "He said 'Don't do anything, or I'll kill you' So why do anything? . . . Maybe you wouldn't have gotten shot."
>
> The owner answered, "It would have been up to him, wouldn't it? He had his finger on the trigger . . . my life is too precious for that."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkWgp2abM2w

Soccer will fix these sort of problems, don't worry. It will give Portland identity and finally make it into the major league city it deserves to be. Then people will realize how important it is to spend $500M on stadia and hotels and entertainment zones instead of police.

Although I usually ignore best city lists, Forbes, the capitalist tool, proffered its roll of this country's 15 Most Livable Cities earlier this week:
http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/01/cities-city-ten-lifestyle-real-estate-livable-cities.html

The author, Zack O'Malley Greenburg, said the mag examined quality of life measures in the continental US's largest metro statistical areas; they eliminated areas with populations less than 500K and assigned points to the remaining metro regions across five data sets: five-year income growth per household and cost of living; crime data and leisure index; and annual unemployment.

Since their data sources appeared legitimate, I looked at their selected metro areas and found Portland #1 -- except it is the other Portland, the one in ME, north of Boston, that leads the list. Cambridge MA ranks seventh, Baltimore MD eighth, Pittsburgh PA tenth. Portland OR does not finish in the top 15.

Although there is no completely inclusive definition of "livability," crime and unemployment certainly erode almost everyone's conception of livable. Any mayor or commissioner who argues otherwise, either directly or indirectly with shiny distractions, is unfit for public office.

Without syphoning off a little of that sudden windfall of $250M and hiring more police, people are going to be too afraid to leave their houses to attend Sam's soccer games.

Interesting.

Thats better coverage than the entire west side utside the downtown core, and a smaller square mileage to boot.

This is precisely the reason I carry a firearm. Say what you will, but there's no way I'm going to trust my safety to Sam Adams. For that matter, even if there were one cop for every 100 people, he or she is still at least two minutes away (after I spend a few minutes getting through to a 911 operator).

Still want to ban handguns?

Come out to SW Portland (more less anywhere outside of downtown to the South and West) and you will be lucky to have more than one PPB officer on patrol at a time, it's pretty pathetic, especially when Tigard PD or Lake Oswego PD responds to an emergency inside Portland because PPB is too far away.

We live close in NE not too far from Madeline school. We have lived here about 10 years. In that time our home has been burglarized once and we've suffered the occasional car prowl. Four other neighbors on our block were burglarized during that time as well. We've always viewed it as part of the price we pay for the convenience of living close to downtown.

We had a home invasion robbery next door about three months ago. A woman got beat up and robbed. That was the final straw. I really don't want to be in this city as the economic situation deteriorates.

There is a disconnect between the city leadership and young families. Crime and schools are at the very top of our list.

We are looking to move outside of Multnomah county at the very least and maybe even *shudder* SW Washington.

We're right behind you, Shenk. They can't build the CRC fast enough.

Our home has been burglarized, and our car was broken into twice, which turned into identity theft/check fraud. The I.D. thieves were prosecuted, but one of them (a tweaker) has already reoffended and skipped bail. Yet Wapato remains closed while we build two stadiums, an entertainment district, Armory remodel, Couch-Burnside Couplets, Convention Center Hotel and a light rail/bike bridge. Sam Adams will tell you there are right pocket/left pocket issues: we can't spend city money on jails. Why not? Why can't we change the law?

15 years ago, we would forget to close the garage door or lock our house in the morning and come home nine hours later feeling smug about living in a "nice" neighborhood. Now if we don't put the kid's bikes away, we know they could be stolen overnight.

ConcordBridge,
Great video, thanks for linking. I'm getting more training at FrontSight soon. Guns in the hands of good guys save lives.

Good luck to all of you who live in Portland. It's only going to get worse when Sam and Rosie close two police precincts in the next month or two.

If any of you need info, training, advice, etc. regarding personal and home defense, feel free to click my name below. The site you'll be taken to is a project I've been working on.

Joey: Handguns are nice and everything, but when you have been awakened from deep sleep by some creeping scumbag, a shotgun is 10 times better.

You don't have to think quite as much about where you are aiming at under a great deal of stress.

The studies I have seen relating to this subject indicate horrible decreases in accuracy under those conditions.

12 Gauge with 00 buck, folks. Puts a would be rapist or killer down like a rabid dog...no one in their right mind goes up against that big dark hole at the end of the barrel, either, the intimidation factor is legendary for a reason. I hope to a God I'm not even sure exists that I never have to do this, but should that day come, I want to be very, very sure of getting the job done right the first time.

Why take something as precious as the lives of your loved ones to chance ? What if you miss, and they get to your handgun before you hit them ?

Now, I'm rather fond of my handguns, I have a few in my safe. But for home defense, you cannot beat the shotgun.

Cabbie: Regarding home defense, I agree 100%. I was referring to carrying outside of the home, and unfortunately a 12 gauge is just a little too big :D


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