PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — Neighbors in the Powellhurst-Gilbert area of Portland say they need more communication and information to address violent crime right in front of their homes.
Dozens of them signed a letter to city leaders asking for details on what can help.
FOX 12 first spoke with Yashica Palshikar in mid-December, when just outside of her home, Portland police said a 16-year-old had been shot and killed in a crime scene that spanned nearly a mile.
“He’s a kid,” Palshikar said. “As a mom I’d be devastated if I lost my child at 16 years old.”
Now just over a month later, worried about continued violence in her neighborhood, Palshikar wrote a letter to the police chief, and included the Portland city commissioners and her state representative.
The letter reads: “We seek your professionalism and assistance to address and curb the increasing homicides, shootings and other extreme crimes most frequently involving irresponsible gun use. We also ask that you provide us with real options for how neighbors can help or be involved.”
“It just makes us really sad to be around these emergencies and seeing people get hurt, innocent people getting scared, wanting our children to feel comfortable playing on the sidewalks,” Palshikar said.
Dozens of other neighbors added their names to the letter too, which asks several questions they’d like to know the answers to, like if the neighborhood is in the middle of some sort of gang turf war, what steps they or police can take to prevent the crimes, how neighbors can best respond to crime, and what the specific strategy is for policing in their neighborhood?
Portland police data shows last year Powellhurst-Gilbert had the third most shooting incidents by neighborhood at 58. Hazelwood and Centennial each saw more.
In total, the East Precinct had 439 shootings, more than double the year prior.
“We do live here and we love living here, and we need some guidance of how to partner, we need some understanding of what a strategy is,” Palshikar said.
Palshikar said she hasn’t heard back from anyone she wrote to yet. FOX 12 also reached out Sunday night but haven’t gotten a response at this point.
This past week, Mayor Ted Wheeler said he’s meeting with other leaders from the local to federal level to address the city’s surge in gun violence but that coming up with specific strategies will take some time.
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