PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Property crime data released by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt on Wednesday showed the county’s prosecution rates over the last three years.
The full data, which can be viewed here, features numbers from 2019 to the third quarter of 2022. It shows the number of property crime incidents reported to PPB increased in nearly every area.
“Property crime is often underreported, time-consuming to investigate, and hugely destructive of public confidence and safety. We must continue to improve our BOEC and police staffing to improve response times and investigate thoroughly these crimes,” Portland Police Association President Aaron Schmautz said. “The Portland Police Association welcomes partnership with our justice system partners to ensure these cases don’t fall through the cracks. Thorough investigations paired with aggressive prosecution and accountability is critical in restoring public trust in our justice system and keeping our city safe.”
According to Schmidt, prosecution rates have stayed largely consistent since 2019, saying there was a downtick in some areas at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by a sharp rise back to pre-pandemic rates near the end of 2020.
“When these cases are referred to us, I have directed my attorneys to prosecute aggressively. Victims of property crime range from individuals experiencing houselessness, to renters, and home and business owners. The impacts are far-reaching and cannot be tolerated. We must continue to fight for accountability with our limited resources,” Schmidt said.
Below is a snapshot of prosecution rates in the third quarter of 2022.
- Burglary prosecution rate: 84%
- Robbery prosecution rate: 72%
- Motor vehicle theft prosecution rate: 77%
- Theft in the first-degree prosecution rate: 65%
- Criminal mischief prosecution rate: 73%
Schmautz says the reason prosecution rates aren’t higher in relation to the amount of criminal reports is partially due to limited staff and resources.
“We’re having a hard time keeping up with the calls that are coming in. We’re hearing from a lot of community members, some that unfortunately have said, ‘look, we’re not even calling because we don’t want to wait for four hours,'” he said. “We need more of everything. The police are not a panacea. We are a portion of a very large system. We need to be very good at our job. But we also need to rely on our partners, so everyone’s holding up their end of the bargain too.”
Schmautz also said Portland police are focused on addressing the discrepancies.
“We’re really focused on partnership, we’re focused on revitalizing some of these relationships that we’ve had historically. Our justice system is broken and we need to fix it and fix it quickly,” he said.