DENVER — As part of a previously-announced collaborative aimed at reducing a surge of crime in the city, the Denver Police Department (DPD) has named five hotspots with a disproportionate number of homicides, aggravated assaults and shootings as compared to their landmass.
In a release announcing the kickoff to crime prevention work in southwest Denver, DPD said these five areas account for 1.56% of the city’s landmass (excluding Denver International Airport) but 26.1% of homicides and aggravated assaults and 49% of all shooting victims.
Those areas are:
- South Federal Boulevard and West Alameda Avenue
- Colfax Avenue and Broadway
- East Colfax Avenue and Yosemite Street
- East 47th Avenue and North Peoria Street
- Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and North Holly Street
Monday, DPD Division Chief Ron Thomas told 9NEWS he hopes the initiative helps reveal underlying issues in these communities that may be leading to high crime rates.
"These are persistent locations, so year after year we’re seeing this continue, so we recognize that we need to have a different approach," he said.
Friday, several Denver agencies and community members launched the initiative with a community clean up in the Federal and Alameda area. People were staged at the Far East Center parking lot, home to several businesses.
Volunteers spent the day cleaning up graffiti and trash, doing outreach to businesses and residents, offering people in the area access to human services programs, and a community prayer walk.
In a Facebook post, Far East Denver wrote "With these new changes, we should be able to have more resources and relationships with the DPD and with their assistance they will help our Little Saigon Denver a safer place for people to shop and dine."
People interested in volunteering for future events should check in with the Denver Police Facebook page, according to Thomas. He said the next clean up event is scheduled for July 16th and more details should be posted soon.
"These are not just one and done events, we recognize that there’s quite a bit of work to do, quite a bit of engagement with the community that needs to take place," said Thomas. "We’re committed to staying in these areas, to staying in these communities, so that they can see some positive results."
Overall crime in Colorado was up 3.9% in 2020 compared with the year before, and motor vehicle theft skyrocketed by 38.6%, according to statistics released earlier this year by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Some other statistics from the CBI report:
- Reports of murder and manslaughter increased 28.63% between 2019 (227) and 2020 (292).
- Violent crimes increased 6.52% percent, from 24,829 in 2019 to 26,447 in 2020. That includes murder and manslaughter, aggravated assault (up 17.44%), robbery (up 6.49%) and sexual offenses. The only one of the areas to see a decrease was sexual offenses, which was down 16.92%.
- Overall, crimes against persons (such as murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, assault and human trafficking) were almost flat between 2019 (64,106) and 2020 (64,121).
- Crimes against society (such as drug offenses, gambling, pornography, prostitution and animal cruelty) were down 26.1%. There were 31,275 reported crimes in 2020, compared with 42,318 in 2019.
This story draws on previous reporting by 9NEWS Digital Desk Editor Jennifer Campbell-Hicks.
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