A brutal, random attack left a doctor unconscious and bleeding on sidewalk in Portland, Oregon. Three weeks later, police have no updates for her.
“This is the Wild West,” Corey Judd told Fox News after his friend’s attack.
Judd and Mary Costantino were walking in Southwest Portland when, out of nowhere, a metal water bottle was flung, striking Costantino in the face and knocking her unconscious. There was no warning. Surveillance video showed the attack happened in about three seconds, with a figure darting across the light rail tracks and hurling the bottle.
“What strikes me is just the randomness of this,” said Judd, who lived in Portland in the early 2000s and was visiting from Spokane, Washington. “This was not a bad part of town. It’s not a bad block. This is a very public place where you get on the train.”
Judd and Costantino called 911, then waited 20 minutes for a police response before giving up and leaving the scene.
“We’re left on our own to figure it out,” he said. “My short time in Portland after that, it kind of made me think, I can’t recall seeing a police car the entire weekend.”
Costantino made it clear she doesn’t fault police for not responding faster — she blames far-left city leaders and voters for chipping away at public safety.
“We don’t have enough police force to protect our citizens,” she previously told Fox News. “We did this to ourselves.”
While Portland’s violent crime rate remains low compared to many urban hubs, the Rose City has been flush with complaints about safety over the past few years, especially as police response times have skyrocketed.
In 2012, the earliest year the Portland Police Bureau shows on its website, the average high-priority response time was just over six minutes total. Most of that was travel time.
Now high-priority calls wait nearly 20 minutes on average. More than half of that delay is categorized as “time in queue” before an officer is dispatched.
The first time Costantino called Portland police went very differently. Around two decades ago when she was still a medical resident, someone smashed her car window, swiped her white coat and dropped it a few yards away. She said an officer immediately responded, filed a report and explained that the culprit was probably looking for drugs.
“I felt like they educated me and they filed a report and they had time,” she said. “That was just a broken car window. I don’t have that expectation that anybody has time to reach out to me now … I just assume that nobody will because the police force is inundated.”
A survey of Portland residents released last year found 51% of respondents doubted a 911 call would be answered quickly. Community members told Fox News it’s like the police “almost disappeared.”
It’s a trend felt by many major cities. Houston is dealing with its longest police response times since the ‘90s. New Orleans’ average emergency response time skyrocketed from about 15 minutes in 2019, to nearly 39 minutes this year, according to police data.
But many of Portland’s smaller neighboring cities have avoided similar increases. Police in Vancouver, Washington, have seen an increase of about a minute since 2019, though a spokesperson cautioned that the data is “inherently subject to error” since arrival times are manually logged. Beaverton’s police response times are actually faster now than they were in 2019 and 2018, according to the department.
PPB attributes the delays to historically low staffing.
“There were zero free officers and another 52 calls holding” when Costantino called, a spokesperson told Fox News.
“Our officers joined the Police Bureau to help people, and when they are unable, it takes a toll,” Lt. Nathan Sheppard wrote. “We’re continuing to hire, so there’s definitely hope, and things WILL get better.”
Staffing shortages aren’t limited to patrol officers.
On Monday, the city’s jail — which is run by the county sheriff’s office — had to halt its booking operations for five hours due to low staffing levels, KOIN 6 News reported. During the closure, some suspects were issued citations in lieu of arrest.
Costantino says her attack represents a breakdown in Portlanders’ civic commitment to one another. She believes her attacker was homeless, likely suffering from mental health issues or drug-induced psychosis.
“We just step over people these days,” she said. “We’re used to men, women, teenagers, just laying on the street, bleeding, looking half dead.”
“We’re not protecting each other anymore because I think we do — myself included — live in fear that whoever’s on the ground is probably crazy and is probably going to come at us with a knife and slit our carotid artery open,” she added.
Given her own experience, she no longer thinks that assumption is unfounded.
“We need to get our police force back,” she said. “We need to get dangerous people off the streets.”