PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In time for the holiday shopping season, Portland police began their foot patrols on Monday, focusing on the downtown area.
Police chief Bob Day says he hopes it’s a way to help people feel more safe in the city.
Local businesses are happy to see the extra support as many of them told KOIN 6 that they’ve had to take security into their own hands the last couple of years.
The staff at Muji in downtown and northwest Portland are preparing for a season they hope is busier than years past.
“Customers are definitely coming back but it’s been rough,” said store manager Kaori Kobayashi.
Shoplifting in the store, and broken windows outside of it, have been a regular occurrence at their location near Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Kobayashi hopes walking patrols by Portland police can help diffuse the situation.
“We report every incident, every time someone breaks a window but having more police presence will help it seems,” Kobayashi said.
Starting on Monday and going through Jan. 3, 2024, a pair of officers will patrol the downtown core from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“It gives us an opportunity to hear those concerns and hopefully continue to come up with good strategies to be able to mitigate some of that,” said Derrick Foxworth with the Portland Police Bureau. “The difference of being in a patrol car and being on foot, it gives you a different presence, it allows you to slow things down and interact with folks in just a different way.”
Foxworth says officers will address crimes as they see them, and mental health crises as well, with the goal of providing a better downtown for everyone.
“A lot of times police are that first kind of gateway to getting people connected with services so that’s one of the important pieces we can provide,” he said.
Chief Day said he hopes this will make officers more approachable. He also said there would be no new resources dedicated to this program so the police bureau will be making do with the officers they have.