Portland police will no longer maintain database of gang members because those labels feel kind of racist

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Monday September 11th, 2017

Meanwhile, gang members keep on banging because it's what they do.

Don't worry, Portland. Your police are still taking gang activity very very very very seriously. They're going to do everything they can to stop it. Well, everything, that, except one thing. They're not going to actually maintain any information about who the gang members are. They'll do everything else! But not that.

Why? I bet you can guess:

Portland police, next month, will end its two-decade-old practice of designating people as gang members or associates following the pressure from the community, The Oregonian reported.

Activists have been trying to abolish the database and gang designations for years, claiming they disproportionately affect minority communities.

According to the data compiled by the paper, out of the 359 “criminal gang affiliates” listed in the police’s database, 81 percent were from an ethnic or racial minority.

Mayor Ted Wheeler – who also serves as the city’s police commissioner – welcomed the decision, saying the change was “too long coming” and “the right thing do to do.”

He added that the change shows the police’s commitment to rebuilding trust with the people.

Capt. Mike Krantz, who also supported the change, emphasized that the decision does not mean the police is not taking gang crime seriously anymore.

“Gang violence isn't going to go away. There are still crimes attributed to known gang sets. There are still criminal gang members. That doesn't go away because we don't have a gang designation,” he said, according to The Oregonian.

“We're not pretending gang violence doesn't exist. We're just taking this one thing away.”

They're not pretending gang violence doesn't exist, but they're pretending it makes no difference in the fight against gang violence if they unilaterally disarm themselves of information about who the gang members are. That's not pretending it doesn't exist, but it is pretending you're taking it more seriously than you really are.

Information is an essential weapon in the fight against crime. It's a far more essential weapon than guns and batons. Those things only help you stop crime if you know who to use them against. If gangs are engaged in organized criminal activity, then finding out about it and stopping it in advance requires you to know who keep an eye on. Portland police have just agreed to give up the information that makes it possible for them to do that.

Why? Thank Colin Kaepernick. And the Washington Post. And CNN. And Barack Obama.

GDP growth for Obama's final year? A measly 1.6 percent

Thank pretty much everyone who has promoted the fiction that American police departments are rife with racism, and are targeting black people just because they're black people. Thank pretty much everyone who had encouraged the belief that if you're walking around black, you're at risk of being shot and killed by a cop just because you're black.

Thank the media who lead with the racial makeup of every incident involving a black citizen and a non-black cop, even before they know if there is any relevance at all to the respective races of the people involved. Thank the media who make race the issue before they even tell you the facts of what happened - assuming they ever tell you the facts. And thank politicians who jump on the racist-cops bandwagon regardless of whether any facts support this, simply because it's politically safe to do so in America circa 2017.

To whatever extent there was really mistrust between the public and the Portland police, this is the reason. What I suspect is actually the case, however, is that left-wing political activists declared there to be mistrust, and presumed to speak on behalf of the entire community. Because the media treated these people with deference, the police felt they would have a PR problem on their hands if they didn't comply with their demands.

So today, Portland is less safe than it was from gang violence, because police have given up a crucial tool in the fight against gang violence in order to not be called racist. It's almost enough to make you think left-wing race mongers were rooting for the crooks all along.

Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!