Portland has seen a record number of homicides. Are cases being solved?

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Jesseye Arrambide wants answers. Nearly eleven months after the fatal shooting of her son, Adam, she still doesn’t know who pulled the trigger or why.

“We haven’t even had a memorial service for him because there’s no closure yet for my family,” Arrambide said. “We’re just not ready to say goodbye to him.”

Of the 90 homicides in Portland last year, fewer than half have been solved.

RELATED: What we know about Portland’s homicide victims from 2021

“I wake up in the morning hoping, am I going to see some results today, but no. I turn on the news and what do I see? The next homicide shooting or two or three that happened that night,” Arrambide said.

36-year-old Adam Arrambide and his friend, Billy Peters were shot and killed outside the Acropolis, a steakhouse and strip club, in Southeast Portland during the late-night hours of Feb. 27, 2021. Investigators believe there are witnesses that haven’t come forward.

“They are humans. They have a heart. They have a conscience,” Arrambide said. “So, what is stopping them from reaching out and doing the right thing?”

RELATED: 2 men fatally shot at Acropolis Steakhouse in Sellwood

Nationwide, the solve rate for murder was about 54% in 2020, the most recent data available from the FBI. Portland’s solve rate that same year was 47%.

“We are working an uphill battle,” explained detective Ryan Foote of the Portland Police homicide unit. “It is frustrating for us as detectives because we want to solve these cases. We know that when someone commits a murder, they have committed a heinous act and if we don’t catch them they have the possibility of continuing on.”

Foote said investigators are overwhelmed by the record number of homicides in Portland. The bureau added more detectives to the homicide unit, growing from 10 to 18. They’re still struggling to keep up.

RELATED: Do cash rewards help solve crimes?

“I think every homicide detective is working at night, after their normal day. They’re going home and working from home. On the weekends, they’re working through the weekends. And people aren’t giving up, but the cases just keep on coming,” said Foote.

Most of the homicide cases last year in Portland involved shootings, which can be especially difficult to solve. That’s because they’re often connected to another crime like robbery — where the suspect and victim don’t know each other. Unlike a murder without a firearm, such as a stabbing — which is more likely to involve an argument between people who do know each other and physical evidence is left at the scene.

As proof, last year in Portland only about 32% of fatal shootings were solved, compared to a 65% solve rate for homicides without a firearm.

Often, witnesses scatter or they’re fearful of sharing information with police.

No matter the circumstances — Arrambide believes the critical factor in solving the murders comes from the community. People must speak up.

“There is somebody out there that knows something,” said Arrambide.

Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 cash for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime and tipsters can remain anonymous.

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