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Recent Study Reveals that People of Color Are Under-Reporting Crimes Where They Are Victims

Recent Study Reveals that, in the Portland area, People of Color Are Under-Reporting Crimes Where They Are Victims

One legacy of systemic racism in the legal system is that people of color are less likely to report instances where they are victims of crime.

According to a recent study, people of color within the Portland metropolitan area often refrain from reporting crimes that could cause potential harm to themselves and others because they fear being accused, or worse.

This study consisted of a series of interviews, and was conducted by the nonprofit Partnership for Safety & Justice. Through this organization, it was determined that three-quarters of 40 citizens, ranging from Black, Indigenous and Latinx, choose not to report being victimized due to deep mistrust of the authorities, including doubts as to the fairness of the criminal justice system. Each participant was personally affected by crimes, including attempted murder and sexual assault.

The reaction of these participants stems from different forms of mistreatment that law enforcement exhibits towards people of color, even when these minority members are victims.

Some residents feared that if they were to call the police for assistance, they would be treated with prejudice, ignored, judged and even removed from their families due to immigrant situations. Often, those seeking help and justice were more afraid of receiving consequences from law enforcement.

There have also been well-publicized instances of people calling the police because of volatile domestic violence situations, or mental breakdowns, where the police have responded with unnecessary violence. Those events have undoubtedly caused people to hesitate before calling 911.

Groups that assisted in this study include Portland’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention, Portland Police Bureau’s Crisis Response Team, the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center’s Healing Hurt People, and many more. These interviews prove that this is still a major issue for Portlanders of color.

The authors of the study hope to not only shed more light on the problem that so many minority residents face here in Portland, but to also encourage the creation and funding of support programs made for addressing historical trauma to communities of color, and to provide culturally specific training to law enforcement.

Our law firm is hopeful that law enforcement will continue seeking to reach out to people of color in working to establish a more just and safe community.

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