While crime is still rising in Portland the size of the police force is shrinking. Police Chief Chuck Lovell announced last month that the city was seeing an average of 29 shootings per week. At that pace the total for the year would work out to be just over 1,500 shootings, which would represent a 14% increase over 2021 and a 266% jump over 2019.
Meanwhile, with just 777 officers remaining to handle crime in a city of nearly 650,000 people, Mayor Wheeler tried to hire back some officers who had retired. Not a single one was willing to return to Portland. But the city also couldn’t hire any new officers even because all of the staff who do background checks on new hires had been laid off back when defunding the police was the hot new trend.
All of those numbers are compelling but what they don’t convey is what happens when a city lacks enough police officers to respond to emergencies in a timely manner. Last month a small business owner named Mahriah Zimmerman had a close encounter with a man she believed was stalking her. She managed to get inside her store and lock the door but moments later she heard a woman screaming for help. Her description of what happened was posted on Facebook and was shared over 1,500 times.
Last night I was… This close to being raped. He watched me. Waited. hush tan Paced. And…I KNEW. I grabbed my 🔫 pepper spray, bear spray, stabber.
I always freeze. 🧊 I didn’t freeze this time.
In a matter of minutes. I heard the the most blood curdling screams I’ve EVER heard. He was on top of her pants down, around his ankles. Her fighting for her life. Not winning. Blood everywhere. Semen￼ everywhere. On Broadway. On the corner. Cars flying by. I pulled her in my car. How I don’t know.. I haven’t eaten in a few day’s. My body’s nervous system already shook from my nightmare neighbor “Carla Muss” I called 911 – Hold ….. 10 minutes!!! 🤯🤬 finally answered… too busy. Not enough operators. Refusing to send an ambulance.. because, I won’t park and stay put. Driving like a mad women.. I refused to let him run. She clung to me. Chasing the predator. 911 telling me to stay in place. NO!!! He ran through the Grant High School Parent Group neighborhood. Thaibasil Dead end. Through Chase bank, Crossed 33rd, now.. Shellgas station. No attendant. ⛽️ He “DANIEL JOSEPH DELGADO” began banging on my windows. Doors locked. Horn blowing. 911 on the line. Window down. Point blank. 🎯 I blasted him again. Right in the face. He collapsed, crawled to the grass of the gas station. Hand still on horn. Minimum 10 minutes. No sirens. No police available. Welcome to Portland Not ONE single neighbor came out. I got a car to stop. 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼They didn’t leave us. Finally……. Sirens……🚨🚨🚨 🚑 …. The wait time absolutely unreal & unacceptable!! 30+minutes – Ted Wheeler Joanne Hardesty Kate Brown Senator Ron Wyden Portland Police Bureau – I demand answers.
The Oregonian reports the alleged attacker was arrested and has been identified as Daniel J. Delgado (that’s Zimmerman’s photo of him above). It’s not clear if Delgado is homeless Apparently the police weren’t thrilled with Zimmerman’s discussion of their slow response time and asked her to delete the Facebook post.
Zimmerman spotted the man again outside of Beverly Cleary School, she said, but the 911 operator who picked up didn’t want to dispatch police because she was following him. (A Bureau of Emergency Communications spokesperson said the 911 call was answered after about 2 minutes; the agency’s goal is to answer within 15 seconds)…
Another 20 minutes passed until police arrived and arrested Delgado, Zimmerman recalled. Officers recovered the woman’s cellphone after it fell out of Delgado’s pocket, records say…
A detective told her to delete the social media post, Zimmerman said, but she wants the story out there so Portlanders will learn to protect themselves.
It shouldn’t take two minutes for police to answer a 911 call about an attempted rape. It also shouldn’t take them more than 20 minutes to show up. But to be fair here, it’s not really the fault of the police. It’s the fault of the Mayor and City Council who decided to cut funding and side with activists who said the city would be safer with fewer officers. And so the best hope for a woman being attacked in the street by a rapist is that some other woman like Mahriah Zimmerman will swoop in and rescue her.
Zimmerman’s Facebook Post went on to recommend people take it upon themselves to stay safe:
SELF DEFENSE CLASSES ARE ESSENTIAL. ORDER PEPPER SPRAY NOW❗️Don’t wait.
Order for your Sister’s. Mother’s. Daughter’s, Friends, Employees.
Shooting range. Gun safety. PROTECT YOURSELF. Portland, Oregon is overloaded and understaffed.
You can NOT wait & think they will save you. You must save yourself. Be prepared.
That’s good advice that could apply to people in a lot of cities where violent crime is up. Here’s a local news report about the attack.