Portland mayor ripped for allowing ‘Red House’ autonomous zone
Retired Marine Gabriel Johnson reacts to the latest outrage from Oregon.
A “serial stalker” who allegedly terrorized a Portland neighborhood is believed to have been found following a community-led effort after residents said police were slow to respond to calls for help, if they answered them at all, according to a podcast that aired Monday.
A community of residents from the North Tabor and Rose City Park neighborhoods banded together in search of the man who is said to have harassed at least 11 locals – terrorizing them through the windows of their homes and, in one instance, even breaking in and trying to touch a 13-year-old girl while she was lying in bed, The Oregonian/Oregon Live recently reported. The neighbors shared information, kept crime logs, and patrolled the area with the hope of directing police to the suspect.
Police confirmed the report to Fox News on Monday.
The startling trend reportedly began in the beginning-to-middle of the year and extended through the summer months and into fall. But local residents said they were largely left without help after Portland Police Bureau’s response was often too slow, if it came at all, according to the report.
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The suspected culprit, identified in the report as 26-year-old Brandon James Pirkey, was tracked down by members of the community group and arrested in October on a warrant for failing to show up to court on previous indecency charges, the report states.
But Pirkey was released shortly thereafter and has not yet been charged in connection with the string of incidents in which the man would allegedly pleasure himself as he watched people through their windows, or follow victims home.
Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian/Oregon Live reporter who broke the news of the neighborhood effort, told the outlet’s “Beat Check podcast” that some of the terrifying instances were said to have happened “during the summer months,” while police were often tied up with the frequent instances of civil unrest.
“I heard from all the neighbors that they were just frustrated by either the slow response by police or lack of a response,” Bernstein said during the segment, which aired Monday. “They all heard that the reason that police couldn’t get out there as quickly or couldn’t dedicate time to it was because officers were drawn to coverage of the nightly protests that were occurring in the city.”
To make matters worse, Bernstein said, “There was only one burglary detective for the entire city this summer – that’s in a city that had more than 5,000 burglaries reported in a year in the past year.”
Most recently released statistics from PPB show 5,514 burglaries were reported from October 2019 through October 2020, 3,719 of which were reported from March to October of this year.
Officer Derek Carmon, a PPB spokesperson, told Fox News in an email that while the department consists of 77 detectives, “the protest required we re-assign detectives to assist with them nightly, even that one burglary detective.”
"Funding continues to be an issue and with future expected cuts, we will have troubles meeting community expectations. We understand how terrorizing an issue like that can be to a community. The reality is that a trespassing call (we understand this seems to be more than that) is a lower priority than immediate life safety calls, like responding to traffic fatalities and the increase in shootings we have seen over the summer," Carmon said in an email to Fox News.
He added: "We are reassigning officers to be able to lower call times but we will still be short personnel for a city Portland’s size. When the call for defunding the police is heard and acted upon, we won’t always be able to do more with less. We applaud the community for banding together to help solve neighborhood livability concerns and I believe we will see more of this in the future."
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Indeed, the widespread protests reported through the summer at times devolved into riots and destruction that led to the deployment of state and federal law enforcement agents.
Portland saw more than 100 days of civil unrest following the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Tensions furthered around the beginning of July when the government deployed federal agents to stop attacks on a courthouse and other U.S. property.
Thousands of demonstrators turned out nightly, with some hurling fireworks, rocks, ball bearings, and bottles at the agents. They responded with huge plumes of tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash-bang grenades.
Those clashes ended July 31, when state police took over from U.S. agents under a deal brokered by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. But smaller protests continued for weeks, with groups of 100 to 200 people marching nightly.
During the clashes, some broke windows, set small fires, punctured police car tires with spikes, shined lasers in officers’ eyes, and pelted them with rocks and frozen water bottles. With the onslaught of destruction also came instances of violence that, at times, grew fatal.
Officers from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) reportedly took, on average, 13 minutes to respond to emergency calls, while taking an average of 102 minutes to get to the lowest-priority reports, according to The Oregonian.
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As for Pirkey, a district attorney’s office spokesperson told Fox News on Monday the office's investigation "is not yet complete." He could not comment further.
Meanwhile, PPB spokesman Lt. Greg Pashley told The Oregonian the department joins “the community in the frustration they feel.”
“For the victims, it can feel like they’re being ignored,” Pashley said. “For a detective to be somehow responsive, with one person in a city this size, it’s sort of a herculean effort and really nearly impossible.”
Pashley reportedly added: “It’s terrible for the community, and it’s terrible for the detectives.’'
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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