Multnomah County sees only 46% of misdemeanor, retail theft cases prosecuted in 2022

The ongoing retail theft has driven some stores to close and reduce their hours.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
A new report has revealed that Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt is prosecuting less than half of all misdemeanor theft cases referred to his office by police.

According to KGW, thieves regularly steal armloads of merchandise and walk right out the front door with no fear of repercussions. The ongoing retail theft has driven some stores to close and reduce their hours.

The outlet reported that in 2022, Multnomah County is prosecuting only 46 percent of theft cases involving less than $1,000 in merchandise, compared to an 84 percent prosecution rate in Clackamas County, and a 93 percent prosecution rate in Washington County.

The data also indicated that Multnomah County prosecutors are being tasked with prosecuting fewer theft cases than Washington County. This year police have referred only 451 felony and misdemeanor theft cases to the Multnomah County district attorney, compared to 1,666 in Washington County. 

Schmidt is also prosecuting fewer second- and third-degree theft cases than his predecessor Rod Underhill who in the first nine months of 2019, prosecuted 60 percent of misdemeanor theft cases, compared to Schmidt's meager 46 percent.

The situation is made exponentially worse by the fact Portland police lack resources to follow up on investigations and property crimes such as shoplifting are rarely solved by police.

Retailers admit that they often do not report crimes because shoplifting has gotten so bad that they don't even bother calling the police.

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