Local business owners were forced to hire their own armed security patrols in Portland, Oregon, to counter a surge in crime that increased after a decreased police presence.
“The decreased police presence created what business owners describe as a public safety vacuum. Private security companies arrived with rifles, metal detector wands, and Kevlar vests,” Daily Wire quoted Aug. 12.
Because of the protests that demanded defunding the police, the budget cut reached $15 million, which was reflected in the reduction of 120 police officers, according to local media Willamette Week.
One of the typical guards on these patrols is Jean-Pierre LaFont, a 45-year-old veteran who served in Bosnia with the Navy SEALS.
He stands at over six feet, clad in a bulletproof vest and desert-tan tactical pants, with a 9 mm pistol strapped to his leg and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder.
He recounted that Lafont was hired by “a private military contractor—the kind of firm that operates in war zones,” the Ravencrest Force Protection Group.
These private security groups create some concern since they are not considered official and portray a paramilitary image.
“There aren’t enough police officers,” explained Jessie Burke, co-owner of the Society Hotel and president of the Old Town Chinatown Community Association.
He added, “We’re having to do what the government used to do. We’re kind of running an underground government to keep things safe.”
Crime rates spiked following the prolonged violence to which Portland and many major cities were subjected to riots promoted by the Marxist groups Black Lives Matter and Antifa last year.
Homicides in Portland increased from 28 in 2019 to 54 in 2020. Seattle saw an increase from 34 to 53 homicides, in Minneapolis, a spike from 48 to 82, and Milwaukee saw homicides increase from 97 to 190 from 2019 to 2020, KGW reported in June.
Following the violent campaign to cut police funding, backed by Democrats, the results have been disastrous, including rising crime.
In this regard, in New York, police reported that hate crimes rose 139 percent in the city. 320 reports of possible hate attacks have been investigated as of June 27, compared to 134 incidents during the same period in 2020.
Likewise, attacks against Asians increased 400 percent. There were also twice as many attacks on African-Americans compared to last year, and sexual orientation crimes showed a 244 percent increase.
The contradictions of the police defunding campaign are reflected in the fact that some Democrats spend tens of thousands of dollars on personal security while failing to protect the rest of the citizens.
Such is the case with legislator Cori Bush (D-Missouri). According to campaign records, she spent some $70,000 on private security, and some criticize the measure as hypocritical.
To this criticism, Cori responded, “So if I end up spending $200,000, if I spend 10, 10, 10 more dollars on it, you know what, I get to be here to do the work.”
She added, among other things, “So suck it up and defunding the police has to happen. We need to defund the police and put that money into social safety nets because we’re trying to save lives.”