PORTLAND, Ore. – Mayors and police chiefs of cities from southern Oregon to Vancouver B.C. met in Portland Tuesday, to pledge greater cooperation fighting crime associated with Interstate 5.
Leaders said it was time to collaborate more closely, to tackle drug, gun and human trafficking that uses the Interstate as a West Coast pipeline.
“The criminal organizations that we’re targeting -- they don’t know jurisdictions. They move up and down our I-5 corridor because it’s profitable to them,” said Portland Police Chief Mike Reese.
Sex trafficking is the fastest growing form of crime in the world, according to the Oregon Human Trafficking Task Force.
The U.S. Justice Department estimates 300,000 of those exploited nationally in the sex traffic trade are children.
The Interstate system allows pimps to keep their illegal trade moving, to avoid law enforcement.
“First of all it’s just heart-rending to hear about how children are exploited in this way, but it’s also beyond the capacity of any one police department to address,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.
Leaders say they will work to build a better infrastructure to share information, and build other systems that allow them to work together in a more comprehensive way, to fight crime along I-5.
“These guys are getting smarter and that means we’ve got to get smarter too and get ahead of the curve,” said Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt.