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Reward sweetened for homicide tips

Crime Stoppers has increased its reward for information in unsolved homicides from $1,000 to $2,5000. The increase comes as homicides are rising in Portland, in part because of a spike in gang violence.

So far this year, 28 people in Portland have died of homicidal violence, two more than for all of 2014. Only 16 people were killed in Portland in 2013.

Eight of this year's murders are still unsolved. Most are suspected to be gang related, the kind of cases where witnesses are most afraid to testify.

The increase was announced during a rare lull in gang violence. Only one case was assigned to the Gang Enforcement Team over the past few weeks, a slowdown in the increase that pushed the total gang cases to 159 by last Friday. That is 41 more than the official record of 118 set in 2012.

The updated statistics were released at the Nov. 6 meeting of the Community Police Collaborative at North Precinct. Police there cited several possible reasons for the recent slowdown, including bad weather and late-night activities at community centers under a program proposed by Mayor Charlie Hales and funded by the City Council in the current budget.

Several other instances of suspected gang violence occurred after the statistics were released. They include three shootings in Northeast Portland, including one where a man was killed and another where a man was wounded

The Nov. 5 case is similar to five or six others assigned to GET this year, police at the meeting said. Around 9 p.m., a car with several black men pulled up beside another black man who was putting his two children into his car in the 2400 block of Northeast Morgan Street. Someone in the car that pulled up asked the man with children what "set" — or gang — he is in. When the man answered he wasn't in a gang, one or more people in the car fired at least 20 shots at him, police say. Fortunately, he and his children were not hit.

Portland Homicide and GET officers recently arrested a suspect in a Nov. 3 gang-related killing. Deandrea Sanders, 25, is charged with shooting Anthony Jackson Jr., 19. Officer found Jackson wounded in the parking lot of the Shalamar Apartments, located at 13746 S.E. Powell Blvd. He died after being transported to the hospital.

Crime Stoppers continues to offer $1,000 for information in other types of unsolved felony crimes.

The identities of those providing tips is protected. For more information, visit crimestoppersoforegon.com.

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