PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Calls for help to the Portland Police Bureau are way down during the month since nightly protests began, data shows, but there have been large increases in arson, vandalism and burglary.
Officials with PPB released data Tuesday showing how service response times have changed since protests began in the city.
According to the bureau, response times for high-priority calls have increased from 7.5 minutes to 11.7 minutes since May 29, the first night of demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest over an alleged counterfeit bill. The average response time for low-priority calls has increased from 36.4 minutes, to more than an hour.
Overall though, calls for service have been way down between May 29 and June 29 compared to the same time period in previous years. The bureau reports 21,244 dispatches between May 29 and June 29. The average number of dispatches during the same weeks of 2017-2019 was 32,998.
So with fewer calls for service, why are response times slower? PPB chalks it up to calls “spending more time in the dispatch queue at all priority levels before a Portland Police officer is available for
dispatch,” according to the bureau’s report. A spokesperson told KOIN 6 News fewer officers have been available to respond due to the demonstrations and “criminal and violent activities downtown.”
Crime reports in the city are significantly lower than previous years in most categories – and have been since the coronavirus response began. However, PPB data shows large increases in arson, vandalism and burglary reports since May 29.
Of the 22 categories tracked, 16 have shown dramatic decreases ranging between 13% and 82%.