By Jonathan Levinson | OPB | April 21, 2022
The criticism that the DA’s office does not prosecute criminals is not supported by data. The accusation first popped up soon after Schmidt took office in August 2020 and faced a backlog of more than 500 low-level charges against protesters. He announced a policy that his office would conserve resources by not prosecuting protesters who had been arrested for city ordinance violations not involving deliberate property damage, theft or the use or threat of force against another person.
Of the 4,890 burglaries reported to the Portland police in 2021, police referred 481 to the district attorney for prosecution, meaning police were only able to identify and arrest a suspect in 9.8% of those cases. On average, the district attorney’s office prosecuted 70% of those referred. Police referred 22% of the 9,044 vehicle thefts reported in 2021, and the DA prosecuted about 63% of those cases.
The lack of data showing rising crime across the state has not stopped some people seeking office from playing up fears to voters. Bud Pierce, who is one of the leading Republican gubernatorial candidates and attempting his second bid for the office, made promises on his website for a new approach “to tackle Oregon’s rising rates of crime and property destruction.”
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