Portland gang violence down sharply from last year, police say

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Portland gang violence calls are down so far this year, compared to the same period a year ago.

But investigators are concerned about the number of gunshots fired in a recent shooting that narrowly missed young children.

There have been 20 gang violence calls so far this year -- less than half of the 43 calls recorded at this time last year, said Sgt. Don Livingston of the Portland police Gang Enforcement Team.

Of the 20 calls, nine of the cases have resulted in arrests. There were 17 shootings, two stabbings and one assault without a weapon. One of the shootings resulted in an unsolved homicide at Northeast 60th Avenue and Killingsworth Street.

"We're doing much better than we did last year," Livingston said, adding that he's pleased with the arrest rate in these cases. He partly credited the cooperation detectives have received from patrol officers.

Yet Livingston and gang enforcement Lieutenant Art Nakamura said they were disturbed by the large spray of bullets at some of the drive-by shootings.

About 9:35 p.m. April 15, for example, a home in the 8300 block of Southeast Taylor Court was riddled with up to 20 bullets. The residence, at the time, was occupied with children.

No arrest has been made.

"Nobody was struck fortunately," Livingston said.

Nakamura added, "It's atrocious. It's just amazing nobody gets hit."

The latest gang statistics were presented at Friday's Gang Violence Task Force meeting at North Precinct.