City Council eliminates Gun Violence Reduction Team. Gun violence soars. Shocker.

Portland’s deadly July: Domestic violence, suspected love triangle and gang retaliation among 15 killings –

The tit-for-tat killings involve adversaries from the Hoover and Loc’d Out Piru gangs, police believe, and set off another round of shootings to cap one of the most violent months in Portland in 30 years.

The alarming toll – 99 shootings, 38 people wounded and 10 people dead from gunshots, four from stabbings and one from blunt force trauma – also includes gruesome domestic violence attacks, fury over an apparent love triangle that left three people dead and disputes between friends that spiraled out of control.

“Some of these are who-done-its. Some of these are domestic. Some of these are retaliatory,” said Detective Division Cmdr. Jeff Bell. “The sheer number and variety stand out.”

Investigators point to a confluence of circumstances causing the surge — the pandemic, summer heat, the diversion of police to handle nightly protests and the city’s elimination of the bureau’s Gun Violence Reduction Team.

Of the 38 people injured in shootings last month, 34 were either teenage boys or men. Most of them – 25 – were Black, four were Hispanic and nine were white, police said.

So far this year, Portland has logged 376 shootings – on track to easily surpass the 388 shootings reported in all of 2019.

Police Chief Chuck Lovell and Assistant Chief Jami Resch, now overseeing the bureau’s investigations branch after giving up the top job to Lovell in June, said the Police Bureau no longer has a stable of specialized officers dedicated to follow up on the shootings, talk to witnesses and use their relationships to gather tips.

At the City Council’s direction, Lovell disbanded the 34-member specialized unit at the beginning of July and moved six of its detectives to the downtown Detective Division’s assault detail and scattered its officers among the three precincts to respond to 911 calls on patrol.

This was entirely predictable. In fact, it was predicted:

When asked what the city would look like without the GVRT, Assistant Chief Shearer said if there’s no specialized team to respond to the shootings, the amount of shootings will increase.

“There’s been cities in the recent past, two in California that I’m thinking of, that both had to reduce their staffing sizes and did away with their gun violence reduction units. Both agencies saw record numbers of homicides in the year immediately following that. And one of those cities even set a new record the second year after they did away with that team … The partnership between the community outreach and then data-driven, very deliberate law enforcement efforts are critical in addressing this type of gun violence,” Chief Shearer said.

The Portland Police Association President predicted bad results as well:

KGW spoke with Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner after Mayor Wheeler’s announcement to disband the team.

“If this is police reform, we’re going in the wrong direction. Obviously we want to serve and protect the citizens of Portland, but this isn’t the way. This isn’t what Portlanders deserve. We need to sit down, we need to have those conversations, but the knee-jerk reaction to what’s happening in the protests is not the answer. Everything needs to be thoughtful, it needs to be thought out, it needs to be better. We will be paying for this for years to come,” Turner said.

One month in, Portland has seen the worst gun violence in 30 years, and 76% of shooting victims are minorities.