PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland businesses are speaking out after repeated break-ins at mom and pop shops and share their solutions.

We’ve seen bandits using blow torches to break inside Portland’s jewelry boutiques and burglars busting up doors to grab small amounts of cash from registers.

“We alone were broken into 3 times in a 10-day period recently,” Adorn Executive Assistant Lisa Tamura said.  

Staff at the clothing store Adorn said their shopping corridor along Division is crumbling from the constant crime.

“I think the overall feeling is a lot of frustration” Tamura said.     

Data is starting to show how common this property crime is in Portland. A recent survey by a local business consultant, from Bricks Need Mortar, found that more than 60% of the 113 participating small businesses experienced break-ins or vandalism in the last year and a half.

Some business have been hit upwards of 5 times.

The survey also shows that break-ins are costly — racking up bills from $500 to more than $10,000.

Small business consultant Sarah Shaoul collected the data to bring to policy makers. She’s proposing officials immediately redirect resources like the Portland Bureau of Transportation to help police with crime investigations and invest in nightly patrols to shine lights on main street businesses.

Police have continued to tell KOIN 6 they’re too short staffed to catch these crooks.

“We need to do something as a city together to create some change because this can’t continue,” Tamura explained.   

Small businesses are banding together and they’ve created a list of asks for local leaders to contract with a company and pay for boarding up windows.

They’d also prefer Prosper Portland give grants to protect business versus reimbursing stores for damage.
Additionally, they want to stop replacing windows until something changes and want to see prosecution.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office most recent data from the last quarter of 2021 shows that 74% of cases referred to their office that include charges pertaining to a burglary of damage of a business are issued for prosecution. That’s 157 issued prosecutions between October to December of last year. For the entire year of 2021, the number of issued prosecutions was 652 at a similar issuance rate. 

“I think the easiest deterrent we could do is just, have patrols that are going through our commercial districts and shining bright lights at our properties,” small business consultant Sarah Shaoul said. 
In addition to investing in nightly patrols, the consultant is proposing redirecting resources like Portland Bureau of Transportation ticketers to instead help police gather information and evidence for crime investigations.

KOIN 6 contacted Commissioner Hardesty’s office to get her thoughts on these ideas for PBOT and is waiting for response.

Small businesses impacted by break-ins are encouraged to Join the What’s App chat or email hello@shopadorn.com and with business name, mobile number and contact name to get involved in crime prevention efforts. 

The Mayor invites these business owners to participate in the Business Success & Job Creation Action Table to discuss their proposals. These meetings are coordinated by the Strategic Innovations Group (SIG), an initiative led by the Mayor and his administration. The Action Tables were created so that members of our community, like business owners, can share their concerns and ideas with City Hall directly.