In the wake of recent attacks in Portland, the question of whether or not to intervene in violent situations has become increasingly relevant. With the city experiencing record levels of violence, murder, and car theft, many attribute this rise in crime to the soft-on-crime approach of the district attorney’s office and the defunding of the police.
This has led to a surge in demand for bystander intervention training, as many citizens find themselves in situations where they must choose between fight or flight. The reality, however, is that the majority of people will choose to flee, especially when children are involved.
Portland Police advise calling 9-1-1 first, but with low staffing levels, immediate police response is not always guaranteed. In the absence of police, organizations are teaching bystanders how to safely intervene. Although this advice may be useful in theory, in practice, most people will likely choose to avoid getting involved.
In one recent incident, a mother was attacked by a delusional woman who believed the mother’s children were her own. The mother managed to escape with her children, but no one intervened to help her during the attack. This highlights the need for more effective policing in Portland, as well as the necessity for citizens to make split-second decisions that could impact the rest of their lives.
While bystander intervention training may offer valuable guidance, it is crucial for Portland to address the root causes of its public safety crisis to protect its citizens.
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