The number of stolen cars in Portland dropped by 327 in 2018 after hitting a 20-year high the year before.
There were 6,835 vehicles stolen in 2018. The Portland Police Bureau attributes the 4.6 percent decrease to aggressive enforcement in car-theft hot spots and increased prosecutions for repeat thieves.
"DAs have really gone to bat and tried to prosecute the chronic offenders," says PPB spokesman Sgt. Stephen Yakots. "That's really what drives the numbers; it's the chronic offenders that steal multiple cars."
WW found more than one-third of auto theft arrests between October 2016 and September 2017 involved repeat offenders ("Car Jack City," WW, Nov. 29, 2017).
Multnomah County prosecutors changed their policies to crack down on suspects facing multiple charges in March 2018. The Oregon Legislature is considering a bill to close a loophole that has allowed chronic car thieves to evade conviction.