PC Madness: Portland Police Stop Tracking Gangs Because Members Aren’t White
Law enforcement experts say the victims of 'destructive' decision will, ironically, be minorities
The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) in Oregon is deleting its gang database because most gang members are ethnic minorities.
In October, the PPB will end its 20-year-old practice of designating criminals as gang members or gang associates amidst increasing pressure from the local community, The Oregonian reported.
The move comes after local reporter Carli Brosseau obtained a copy of the database last year and discovered that 81 percent of the 359 “criminal gang affiliates” flagged in Portland’s database at the time were member of a racial or ethnic minority, which apparently did not sit well with the uber-liberal denizens of Portland.
Portland authorities are doing their utmost to pretend that the move to delete the database was a reasonable decision not influenced by political correctness.
"Gang violence isn't going to go away. There are still crimes attributed to known gang sets. There are still criminal gang members. That doesn't go away because we don't have a gang designation," insisted Capt. Mike Krantz, who, according to reports, helped lead the change. "We're not pretending gang violence doesn't exist. We're just taking this one thing away."
What Portland is doing is pretending that there aren't noticeable demographic patterns in American crime statistics, says one expert in law enforcement.
"Violent street crime in the U.S. is almost exclusively a province of blacks and Hispanics," Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of "The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe," told LifeZette.
Said Mac Donald: "In New York City, for example, blacks and Hispanics commit 98 percent of all shootings. In Chicago, whites commit less than 1 percent of all shootings, blacks and Hispanics the rest. The Left denies the reality of violent street crime because it interferes with its narrative that the police and racism are the biggest threats facing blacks today. In fact, blacks' sixfold higher rate of dying by homicide compared to whites and Hispanics combined is exclusively a function of blacks' eightfold higher rate of committing homicide compared to whites and Hispanics combined."
Another expert on American law enforcement issues says the Portland decision could hamper police efforts.
"Intentionally ignoring truthful information that has been shown to help reduce crime is perverse any way you look at it, but it's especially perverse once you understand that it will do the most harm to the people in whose name it's supposedly being done," Bill Otis, a professor at Georgetown University Law and former federal prosecutor, told LifeZette.
"If a gang of redheads was rampaging through town on a bank-robbery spree, should the police refrain from mentioning what they look like in seeking the public's assistance in finding them? Or in maintaining their own database about the robberies?" he said.
"If 90 percent of the muggings or the heroin sales in town were being undertaken by males in their 20s, should the police send this information down the 'memory hole' because, to a certain turn of mind, it might be taken to reflect poorly on men or young people?" continued Otis. "To ask these questions is to answer them."
Mac Donald said there is no question: Decisions like this are the byproduct of left-wing ideology.
"The Portland police are shamefully capitulating to destructive political correctness," said Mac Donald. "It's not the police who are to blame for gang affiliation designations, but the gang members themselves. If the black and Hispanic communities want fewer of their members designated as gang affiliates, they should step up to the plate and provide the parenting that will prevent children from joining gangs."
Both Mac Donald and Otis said it is naïve to think that such a move will not have a negative impact on law-abiding citizens and a positive impact on the criminals who wish to prey on them.
"One reason the country experienced so much less crime for an entire generation starting in the early '90s is that policing got smarter," Otis explained. "That is, police computers kept more comprehensive and timely information about the people and organizations who commit crime."
"Knowing that someone is a member of a gang is a vital tool for fighting crime; if that person is shot, the police know that a retaliatory shooting is likely and can prepare accordingly to try to prevent it. It helps the police seek likely witnesses and accomplices to crimes committed by gangs," Mac Donald said.
Portland is not the first place to implement policies barring law enforcement from using racial or ethnic information to better do their job. In 2016 it was reported that police in Stockholm, Sweden, had been ordered to stop recording suspects' race and ethnicity in police reports, even with severe crimes such as murder.
"Criticism is sometimes made against police regarding information about people's skin colour. It is perceived as racist. As police are not racist, nor shall be construed as so, this directive now applies," stated an internal memo sent to Stockholm officers.
Otis said misguided decisions like that in Portland miss the point of law enforcement.
"These records of course contain information relevant to identity, but they are not about identity," said Otis. "They're about behavior — behavior that needs to be stopped, most poignantly for the benefit of the minorities who are, disproportionately, its victims."
(photo credit, homepage image: Eli Duke, Flickr; photo credit, article image: torbakhopper, Flickr)