A troubling incident involving Dr. Mary Costantino in Portland, Oregon, reveals the chilling consequence of diminished law enforcement resources as the beleaguered city struggles with escalating crime rates and homelessness.
On July 28, Dr. Costantino, a respected radiologist, was brutally attacked by a homeless individual, followed by a twenty-minute delay in police response. The assault, perpetrated by an assailant wielding an aluminum water bottle, transpired during a seemingly tranquil walk in a distinguished neighborhood, leaving her unconscious and bleeding on the pavement.
“I do not hold the police accountable for this at all — I hold our city accountable for defunding the police,” Costantino told Fox News. She argued, “We don’t have enough police force to protect our citizens, and we did this to ourselves.”
The doctor is correct. 👇
"Portland woman knocked out by attacker blames city for slow police response: ‘We did this to ourselves’"https://t.co/PqQdnfaqkl
— Betsy Brantner Smith (@sgtbetsysmith) August 3, 2023
This incident is symptomatic of a broader malaise afflicting Portland. The city has experienced an alarming population decrease since the onset of the pandemic due mainly to increasing crime and homelessness. U.S. Census data reveals that after a 23% population increase over two decades, Portland saw an almost 3% drop between 2020 and 2022.
Mayor Ted Wheeler’s (D) response to this crisis has attracted intense criticism as his administration slashes police resources. Alarmingly, the mayor proposed to allocate twice as much for the city’s burgeoning marijuana industry as he has sought for hiring new police officers.
Crime rates continue to surge as the city government’s support for law enforcement dwindles. In a startling revelation, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the mayor proposed more than $10 million for marijuana-related initiatives in the upcoming budget, nearly double the amount requested for new police hires.
The police shortage was keenly felt during Dr. Costantino’s ordeal. “If we don’t have police officers to come to the side of somebody under attack, then we’re all on our own,” she said.
This scenario is becoming increasingly common in Portland, where police response times have increased due to dwindling staff numbers. In an email to Fox News, Lt. Nathan Sheppard explained, “Our officers joined the Police Bureau to help people, and when they are unable, it takes a toll. We’re continuing to hire, so there’s hope, and things WILL improve.”
Yet, for victims like Dr. Costantino, that hope seems remote. The brutal attack she suffered is a strong reminder of the deteriorating public safety in Portland, prompting her to change her voting habits. She now aligns with the conservative viewpoint, opposing those who pushed for police defunding in 2020.
With Portland citizens facing the harsh reality of the “defund the police” movement, whether the city will revisit its stance on law enforcement funding to ensure public safety remains unknown. For now, Dr. Costantino and others like her must contend with the chilling fear that they may be left to fend for themselves when the unthinkable happens. Only time will tell if the city’s leadership will heed this wake-up call and take decisive action to restore a sense of security among residents.