(The Center Square) – Portland, Oregon, is receiving an $800,000 Smart Policing Initiative Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs to address vehicle theft in the city.
“When folks go to hop in their cars to get to work, doctor’s appointments, or the grocery store, they should feel certain that their vehicle will be there waiting for them—not stolen without a trace,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, said in a press release issued by his office. “Ensuring local law enforcement has the tools needed to address the mounting stolen vehicle theft in the city will help drivers feel more confident to park in Portland.”
So far, there have been over 10,000 thefts this year, according to the release – meaning the Justice Department is sending the city $80 for every car stolen so far this year. The 10,000 thefts by October is up from what OregonLive reported in June when it was expected that 10,000 would be the total for the whole year.
“Portlanders and anybody visiting the city must be able to park anywhere in town free of fear their car will be stolen,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said. “Auto theft obviously undermines quality of life, and I’m glad these federal funds are en route so Portland can mount a full-scale attack on this crime.”
The Portland Police Bureau will use the funding to collect data about vehicle theft and to make a digital database to conduct analysis.
“These evidence-based practices will inform officers’ efforts to better identify stolen vehicles in the community,” the release said.
News stories about car theft have become more common in recent times, whether it is KOIN reporting how thieves steal cars in under 30 seconds or KPTV reporting on 14 people being arrested over one weekend in Portland for car theft.
And there is even a movement of civilians committing vigilante car retrieval. They run a website called pdxstolencars.com to track the number of reported car thefts on any given day and use social media to track down the cars and the thieves.