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There have been 15 homicides since July 1, according to the Portland Police Bureau, the most in any month in 30 years.

FILE - Police tape marks the crime scene of a triple shooting at 5706 North Mississippi in Portland in 2002.With 15 homicides reported this month, Portland Police Bureau officials say that July has become the deadliest month for Portland killings in three decades.

PPB reports 15 homicides occurring within city limits since July 1, 2020. For comparison, there were just five reported homicides in July, 2015; one in July, 2016; two in July, 2017; two in July, 2018; and three last July, according to the bureau's crime statistics.

Overall crime is down, however.

According to uniform crime statistics reported to the FBI, there were roughly 4,200 serious offenses involving persons, property or society in Portland in June of this year — the lowest number for June reported since at least 2015.

Last year, the count was about 4,900 serious offenses — and the tally was above 5,000 offenses as recently as June of 2017 and 2018.

It's too soon to say what has caused the spike in homicides, and whether recent unrest during nightly protests or the widespread quarantine orders are factors in play. Crime generally rises in large cities during the summer — with the heat thought to raise tempers and lead to more interactions between people out of doors.

The most recent deadly incident occurred in the 100 block of Northeast 92nd Place around 10:40 p.m. on July 29.

Homicide detectives say a crowd of perhaps 30 had gathered near the 15800 block of Southeast Division for a vigil after the shooting death of Sacramento resident Tyrell Penney on July 25.

FAMILY PHOTO - Aja Rhone-SpearsPolice say two people were stabbed after a disturbance broke out among mourners. Aja Rhone-Spears, 34, died at the scene.

"Officers and detectives encountered hostility and a lack of cooperation during their attempts to conduct this investigation," according to a news release. "There are believed to be multiple witnesses and investigators are hoping to learn more about what transpired."

No arrests have been made, but the investigation continues.

Zane Sparling
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