Rise of Violent Crime in Portland Outpaced Country in 2021

Last week’s data release by the FBI provides a snapshot of crime in jurisdictions across the nation.

SAVAGE GARDEN: Cycling on the Eastbank Esplanade. (Brian Burk)

American crime largely remained steady in 2021, according to the FBI’s analysis of crime data submitted by local law enforcement agencies across the United States.

The annual report provides a snapshot of crime in jurisdictions across the nation. “The overall message is that crime remained consistent,” the FBI wrote in a press release announcing Wednesday’s data dump.

Not so in Portland, however, where the number of violent crimes increased 38%. These include homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults, all of which happened more often in 2021 than the previous year. So did property crime, which rose 17%.

The city set an all-time record for homicides in 2021, though the murder rate per capita remained below its 1987 level. For several years, Portland has been a particularly dangerous place for its Black residents, as WW has previously reported. And several high-profile murders and assaults have increased scrutiny on Multnomah County’s criminal justice system.

Related: This week, prosecutors uncovered new evidence that could have kept accused murderer off streets.

One key caveat: The nationwide analysis this year did not include data from many of the country’s largest cities, including both Los Angeles and New York, due to methodological changes. Nearly 40% of jurisdictions did not submit data.

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