Shootings in Portland, Oregon, nearly tripled over the summer after Mayor Ted Wheeler disbanded the city’s police gun crimes unit, according to new police data.
The city recorded 223 shootings in July and August, up from 77 over the same period in 2019. And a little more than halfway through September the city already had 64 shootings, or double the shootings from the same month last year.
The numbers were released last week.
On Monday the federal Justice Department declared Portland and two other cities, Seattle and New York, to be “Anarchy Jurisdictions.” In Portland the federal officials cited the increase in gun crimes as one reason.
The city has faced near-nightly mayhem since late May, when protests broke out over the death of George Floyd, a black man, in Minneapolis. More than 25 riots have been declared in the days since.
City leaders sought to cooperate with racial justice demonstrators, with the city council cutting the police budget by $15 million.
Mr. Wheeler, who is also police commissioner, announced in early June he was disbanding the Portland Police Bureau’s Gun Violence Reduction Team as part of an effort to “reimagine” city policing. Protesters had said the unit unfairly targeted Black men.
In August, after seeing the spike in shootings in July, Mr. Wheeler said he was pondering restoring some type of gun crimes unit.