PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – After a record-breaking year of homicides, 2022 is already not looking much better.
In the first month of the year, Portland Police Bureau said it recorded nine homicides, 10 if they were to count the person who was fatally shot by a Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputy on Interstate 205 on Jan. 26.
That’s a 12.5% increase from the first month of 2021 when eight homicides were reported.
The number of reported shootings in January 2022 also saw a slight uptick compared to the same month a year before. There were 107 shootings recorded in January 2022 and 104 in January 2021, a nearly 3% increase. Portland Police Bureau said 26 people were injured as a result of shootings in the first month of 2022 compared to 27 in January 2021.
Several of those January 2022 shootings occurred in the final days of the month. Within a 24-hour window of time, between Thursday, Jan. 27 and Friday, Jan, 28, Portland Police Bureau reported seven separate shootings.
The bureau said members of the Enhanced Community Safety Team would join the Focused Intervention Team the following weekend to improve officers’ ability to respond to gun violence. They said the goal of the additional resources was to prevent shootings with high visibility patrols and increase response and investigative resources to any shootings.
However, even with those additional resources, a man was fatally shot in the North Tabor Neighborhood and more than a dozen more shootings were recorded in Portland before the end of the month.
In January 2019, 32 shootings were recorded in Portland and in January 2020, 50 were reported.
For Portland, 2021 was the most violent year on record. The city recorded 90 homicides, far surpassing its record of 66 set in 1987.
In 2020, the city disbanded its controversial Gun Violence Reduction Team, which many have attributed to the spike in gun violence in the city. Since then, the city created the Focused Intervention Team, a new Portland Police Bureau group assigned to preventing shootings. Training for the group began Jan. 6.
Portland City Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty said in April 2021 she does not believe the increase in gun violence is a result of the removal of the Gun Violence Reduction Team. She said, “It is a totally unrelated issue,” and that the police are responsible for solving crime, not preventing crime.
In October 2021, Mayor Ted Wheeler said he wished he had more support from city hall to fund and staff police.
City Commissioners voted unanimously in November to direct millions in funding to the bureau.