One of Portland’s largest volunteer-run Facebook groups dedicated to helping Portlanders find their stolen cars is shutting down.
“Time to shut down shop,” announced a post made to the group earlier this afternoon. Titan Crawford, founder of PDX Stolen Cars, tells WW there was “too much liability” involved in apprehending thieves.
“We can only go spot the cars that are stolen. We can’t stop the thieves when they drive off,” he says. “City can deal with it. I let police know to quit sending folks to us.”
Car theft has exploded in Portland in recent years. Last year, there were about 11,000 reported thefts, up from 6,400 as recently as 2019. Police say staffing shortages have hamstrung their efforts to address it—and the Portland Police Bureau disbanded its auto theft division in 2006.
So volunteers stepped up in their place. This group started in late 2021 and has received national attention in recent months.
The New York Times profiled it in October. “This is an army, and it’s exploding,” one of its members, Victoria Johnson, told the newspaper.