September 16, 2008

Mercury Blog covers 82ndCARES--and a request for Montavilla In Action

There's a story about our blog on Portland Mercury's official blog. It even includes our crime chart, which we re-post below. Thanks Sarah!

Now, some people seem to be confused about the point we are trying to make with this chart. Our point is NOT that prostitution has not increased after PFZ ended: quite clearly, the chart shows that the number of prostitution cases has increased over the past two quarters, according to Police figures. But fluctuations are to be expected for prostitution figures: a big sweep results in dozens of arrests on one day, so a couple of those in a given quarter and it would appear that prostitution has drastically increased. In fact, what the chart actually shows is not that prostitution is on the rise, but that police is perfectly capable of enforcing prostitution laws without PFZ (not that we advocate for criminalization of these women anyway...).

The point we are trying to make is not about prostitution at all, but the fact that other crimes, particularly violent crimes and property crimes, have not increased since PFZ was lifted. Unlike prostitution, figures for these crimes are not elastic: they do not fluctuate at the whim of the police strategy. And when you look at the numbers, almost all categories of crimes have declined in the last year. This is true not just in Montavilla, but also in Mt. Tabor, South Tabor, and other neighborhoods. If you don't think it's true, go ahead and check it out for yourself.

Finally, in the comment section of the Mercury blog, a representative of Montavilla In Action states that they are interested in working with us (82ndCARES Coalition). Fabulous! I'm sure that we'd be happy to work with any concerned members of our community, and we will get back to you on that in the next week or so (we discuss things over internally over email, and it takes time to come to a consensus on anything).

But one quick request for MIA in the meantime: could you please stop denigrating Donyel Hormats, the woman who was exonerated of a murder charge after she defended herself from an attacker on the 82nd? In particular, in your "timeline" of events, you state:

Aug 15, 2008 - Known & convicted 19 year old prostitute stabs to death a competing pimp form out of state at 8pm on a neighborhood street--"turf war."

This statement is highly misleading and possibly libelous, as it portrays Donyel as a cold-blooded killer who acted out of greed in a "turf war." The truth is that she was attacked and beaten by three unknown men as she was sitting on a bench, and she did what she had to do to survive. Didn't you see bruises on her face in the police picture? Grand jury found her story credible enough to exonerate her for the charge of murder, which we are very thankful. Donyel was not the aggressor; she is just a young woman who had to defend herself.

It is absolutely despicable to continue to defame and blame a victim of violent crime simply because she has a history of prostitution arrests (we weren't able to verify any conviction, and no media story has so far reported that she has been convicted of any crimes in the past). Had she been a 19-year old college student, or some other person with middle-class standing instead, you would be rallying around her (rightfully so). After all, aren't we fighting for safe neighborhood for every neighbor?

No comments: