Portland, Oregon, saw a 60 percent increase in the number of homicides in 2020 compared to 2019.

The 56 homicides the police bureau reported in 2020 is a massive jump from the 35 reported in 2019 and more than double the numbers reported in 2018 and 2017. However, the sudden spike in homicides isn’t a problem exclusive to Portland.

Clayton Mosher.

Clay Mosher, a sociology professor at Washington State University Vancouver who studies crime trends, said to be cautious when comparing cities directly.

“You’ve heard the term comparing apples to oranges and comparing across cities… might be equivalent to comparing apples to broccoli, or perhaps even comparing apples to steak,” he said.

Mosher said there are a lot of factors to consider including demographic differences across cities, levels of poverty, median income, the number of police officers per capita, and segregation.

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