PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Police Bureau plans to stop documenting people as gang members amid community concern that the label disproportionately affects minorities.

The bureau announced the change Friday, saying the names of about 300 people will be removed from a database Oct. 15.

Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley says the gang-designation policy began more than 20 years ago when crime rates were higher and gang violence was escalating.

He says the bureau agrees with some citizens that the “gang member” label harms those trying to change their ways. The tag was sometimes applied to people who had not been convicted of a crime.

Police say they will continue to investigate crimes that are committed on behalf of a criminal organization.

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