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Happy holidays, and Welcome to the Portland Police Bureau’s News Beat for December, 2019. While we can’t highlight all the public safety issues and crime addressed by Portland Police Officers, here is a snapshot of what we’ve been discussing over the last month:
Driving Under the Influence: Just Don’t do it! Almost one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers, meaning the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is .08 percent or higher). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes every day— that's one person every 48 minutes. In total, drunk-driving crashes claimed more than 10,500 lives last year.
It’s not just drinking. Many substances in addition to alcohol can impair driving. This includes marijuana, some over-the-counter and prescription drugs, as well as illegal drugs. Under Oregon law, “under the influence” is defined as having one's physical or mental faculties "adversely affected to a noticeable or perceptible degree” as the result of ingesting drugs and/or alcohol.
Oregon imposes mandatory minimum sentences for DUII convictions. The penalties increase depending on prior convictions. These sentences include jail, fines, license suspension and an ignition interlock device. For those who must drive as part of their job, it can cause significant consequences, including losing employment. It can also be expensive (e.g.: lawyer’s fees, fines and ignition interlock device).
The Portland Police Traffic Division is committed to providing enforcement and raising awareness to reduce impaired driving. Each year, traffic officers respond to preventable collisions. These collisions can deeply impact those involved, their families and loved ones.
Officers will be conducting extra patrols this holiday season to look for impaired drivers. If you are celebrating this holiday season, use a private ride service, public transit or designated driver. Don’t put others’ lives in danger because of a poor choice.
We’re hearing more and more about active shooters as events take place around the country and the world. Portland Police has been asked to provide training and tips on the topic. An active shooter, also called an active threat, is someone who is actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. While there can be more than one individual, it is estimated that 98 percent of active shooter events are committed by a single attacker. Active shooter incidents are often unpredictable and evolve rapidly—of those studied between the years 2000-2013, almost 70-percent lasted less than 5 minutes and 60 percent were over before police arrived.
These incidents are extremely rare, but they’re terrifying to imagine. If you find yourself in an active shooter situation you have three options: Run, hide, fight.
If you can run away, that’s best. Ensure you have an escape route in mind and leave your belongings behind. Help others escape if possible, but do not attempt to move wounded people. Prevent others from entering an area where the active shooter may be and call 911 when safe.
If you must hide, find an area that is out of the shooter’s view. Lock the door and barricade it if you can. Shut off the light, and silence your cell phone.
Fighting is the last resort and only if you are in imminent danger. Attempt to incapacitate the shooter and act with as much physical aggression as possible. Work together with others. Improvise weapons and throw items at the attacker—commit to these actions because your life may depend on it.
The first officers to arrive on scene will not stop to help the injured. Expect rescue teams to follow initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove people who are hurt. Once you have reached a safe location, you likely will be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Do not leave the area until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.
Free Classes The Portland Police Bureau is teaching free classes in the community on Active Shooter Preparedness. The Community Active Shooter Preparedness presentation is designed to provide community members the skills to react in such a situation. It will also prepare organizations, faith groups, businesses and others to have a comprehensive active shooter response plan. Our presenters are Portland Police Bureau Officers, many of whom have responded to the scene of local active shooter situations, and all have undergone active threat training.
If you’re interested in this presentation, here is an e-mail to contact: PPBOCE@portlandoregon.gov Watch those Packages and Valuables
As more consumers choose to shop online, the number of package deliveries increase, especially during the holiday season. As a result, thefts of delivered packages increases this time of year.
Here are some ways you can safeguard the delivery of your order: • If you believe that the delivery will arrive while you are away from home, see if your work will let you have the packages sent there. • Have the package delivered to a trusted relative, friend or neighbor that you know will be home. • Some shippers have secure pickup sites where there are lockers only you can access. • Track the shipping and routing of the package. This is available and provided by most shippers and the US Postal Service. Contact the shipper if there is a delay in receiving the package as scheduled. • Arrange for the packages to be signed for. It’s a hassle, but it is more secure. • Many shippers will let you provide instructions about where deliveries should be left in a less visible location, like your backyard. Some smart home devices even let the delivery driver into your front door or garage to leave the package there.
And if you are shopping at stores, we want to remind you to not leave packages in your vehicles. Car prowls also increase this time of year, as busy shoppers leave packages in their cars and then continue to shop. That’s risky.
Check out that Charity Before Giving As the holidays approach, Detectives say fraud scams increase, especially in regard to charities. Scammers often use organization names that sound much like reputable and real charities. Ask for the exact name of the charity and do some research before you donate. Do not let the caller rush you into making a decision. It’s a common tactic for scammers to ask you to buy gift cards or send a wire transfer. Remember, legitimate charities do not ask for gift cards or wire transfers.
Scammers usually give vague descriptions about how your money will be used. If you ask and cannot get a specific answer, be on alert… it could be fraud. Some scammers may say they are contacting you because you made a donation in the past. Know who you contributed to before…and even if you have contributed, you are not obligated to donate again.
Never give cash to someone who contacts you in person at home. If you donate, pay by credit card or check and keep a record of your donation. Make sure you are only charged for what you donated and verify that you aren’t signing up for a recurring donation unless you want to.
If you are unsure about a charity, do an internet search of the name, followed by the word “scam” or “fraud. “ Visit the Federal Trade Commission website and search under “Charity scams.”
There are many websites that provide helpful information about many charities including the Oregon Department of Justice, Charity Navigator.org, and CharityWatch.org.
If you see a crime in progress, call 9-1-1. If you see suspicious activity in Portland, call police non-emergency 503-823-3333.
Thank you for listening to the News Beat. For more episodes, go to portlandoregon DOT gov/police/podcast or follow us on Twitter …… @Portland Police