Portland’s YOYO Approach to Solving Crime

By Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

Just after dinner on New Year’s Eve, my oldest son got a text from his friend who was hosting a party that night: “Party’s cancelled … car and wallet stolen.”

While he was at the gym, someone got past the front desk and into the locker room. The thief cut the lock off the locker, grabbed the contents, and used the car keys to steal the car. After that, he tried to use the stolen credit card at a gas station, a liquor store, and a convenience store.

Our friend contacted the Portland police who assigned an officer to the matter. But, it turns out the officer was on vacation and wouldn’t be back until the following Thursday.

In the meantime, our friend went back to the gym, the gas station, the liquor store, and the convenience store and asked to see the footage from the security cameras. No luck. They all said they’d only show the footage to police. The one who was off duty for nearly a week.

In frustration, our young friend muttered, “No one seems to care. No one wants to help.” That’s how many Portland residents feel today. In two years, we’ve gone from “The City That Works” to “We’re All in This Together” to a new era, the YOYO era: “You’re On Your Own.” We need to get back to the city that works.

Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is Vice President of Research at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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Comments 3

  1. Avatar for whmacken@gmail.com


    3:20 pm - January 5, 2022

    While news coverage tends to focus on the homeless, car thefts have become a plague in Portland. Not often mentioned is that many of the car thefts are apparently being committed by the homeless. Solving one problem may help solve another.

  2. Avatar for Glenn Gailis

    Glenn Gailis

    7:43 pm - January 5, 2022

    Portland, Oregon = disaster. Needs new leadership soon before it is too late!

  3. Avatar for Pamela Fitzsimmons

    Pamela Fitzsimmons

    1:43 pm - January 6, 2022

    Our media and politicians feel sorry for the wrong people. Count the number of times that candidates in the upcoming elections talk about helping “the most vulnerable.” They’re referring to drug addicts, thieves and assorted dirtbags who find shelter under the “homeless” umbrella. This group has no fear of the criminal justice system.

    Condolences to Eric’s son. Someone tried to steal my car in November while it was parked at my home. My gym has signs everywhere warning to guard your property.

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