PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Police Bureau says there’s been an “alarming” increase in the number of fatal traffic crashes in the Rose City in 2021. Officials say the numbers could be on track to surpass 2020.
Police reviewed some of the numbers after investigating a deadly hit-and-run crash in Southeast Portland Thursday. The victim was killed near Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard shortly before 10 a.m. The suspect was described as a shirtless man with long hair in a bun on top of his head.
So far, there have been 45 deadly crashes in Portland in 2021. In early September 2020, there were about 34. In total, there were 54 deadly crashes in Portland in 2020.
Sgt. Kevin Allen from the Portland Police Bureau said the community should be mindful of the trends when they are on the roads. He said the numbers could even increase in the coming months with darker, rainier weather around the corner.
“When we get into fall, there are going to be times when people are driving more at night time. You have rain and other weather that also impacts their ability to see. So, it really adds to the urgency for people to really be careful when they are driving and pay attention to where they are going and what’s in front of them,” he said.
Allen said visibility plays a big role in traffic safety. As an example, he mentioned a crash that occurred early Saturday morning where a person was struck in a lane of traffic while wearing dark clothing. He said there haven’t been any charges issued in that case.
The preliminary investigation indicates the driver may have been unable to see the person. The investigation is still ongoing.
Allen said the Portland Police Bureau used to have an entire team of traffic officers dedicated to traffic safety and the staffing crisis has prevented them from doing that. He said the team is now tasked with responding to 911 calls instead.