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Latest effort to fight gun violence in Denver focuses on known offenders

DPD is partnering with the ATF to focus on removing guns from violent offenders.

DENVER — One effort to curb violent crime in Denver has focused on five known “hot spots.” The latest effort now focuses on known perpetrators.

“They talk about hot spots and ‘hot people,’” Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said at a news conference announcing the initiative. “This gives us an opportunity to focus on those ‘hot people,’ the worst of the worst.’”

The goal of the newly-announced partnership between the Denver Police Department (DPD), U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Denver Field Division (ATF) and local and federal prosecutors is to identify and arrest violent felons who carry or use firearms.

DPD said it will pair a dedicated investigator with an ATF agent who specializes in illegal firearms investigations to find known violent offenders and prioritize cases for serious charges based on whether they occurred in one of five crime hot spots.

Officers in Denver will also received training to ensure gun charges are thoroughly documented. So far in 2021, Pazen said DPD has recovered 1,170 firearms, which is a 26% increase over the three-year baseline.

He said there have been 415 arrests for prohibited possession of a firearm so far this year, which is a 48% increase over that same baseline.

“We cannot accept the status quote, we have to innovate, we have to look for solutions to keep our community safe,” Pazen said.

Minutes before the press conference began on Wednesday afternoon, DPD took one person into custody while investigating a report of shots fired outside the Byron Rogers Federal Boulevard near 20th and Champa streets in downtown Denver.

Pazen said Metro Denver Crime Stoppers will post billboards telling people to report gun crimes in five neighborhoods that have been identified as "hot spots" for violent incidents. 

RELATED: 3 men arrested at Maven Hotel face federal weapons charges

RELATED: Here's where Denver Police says are the city's crime hot spots

Those hotspots 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

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