DENVER — Shelley Majeres has been the general manager of the Blake Street Tavern in Denver's Lower Downtown neighborhood (LoDo) since 2011. She said there has always been occasional crime in the area, but nothing like she's seen so far this year.
"It's concerning, obviously," Majeres said. " Not as shocking as you would think, it's just becoming too commonplace."
The numbers appear to support Majeres' fears. According to Denver Police, there have been 176 assaults in LoDo and the surrounding area so far this year -- 50 of them involving guns -- which represents a 71% increase over the area's three-year average.
As a result, Denver Police have now designated LoDo one of its hot spots, devoting extra resources, including more officers, to the area, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Chief Paul Pazen said the extra attention has resulted in more than 50 illegal guns being seized in LoDo this year.
"What we are seeing is not acceptable," Pazen said. "Repeat and violent offenders should not be in possession of illegal guns creating great harm throughout our city."
Denver Police said one of the illegal guns seized in LoDo this year belonged to Jordan Waddy, the 21-year-old man who police shot early Sunday morning when the bars let out on Larimer Street. The shooting also resulted in six bystanders being injured.
A 27-year veteran of the Denver Police Department, Pazen said he never thought he would see the level of crime he's seeing now, in LoDo and throughout the city.
"Violent crime, in particular, continues to increase, it doesn't look like it's stabilizing at all and we're very concerned about violent crime and gun crime in the LoDo area," Pazen said.
In addition to the 176 assaults in LoDo and the surrounding area this year, there have also been six homicides.
Citywide, there have been 54 homicides in Denver in 2022, a roughly 20% increase over last year, which had the second most murders in modern Denver history.
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