On Tuesday, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen urged the public to express their worries about the rising crime rate to their political leaders.
Driving the news: According to Pazen, the city has already seen 60 homicides this year and is on track to surpass last year’s total (96), as well as Denver’s all-time annual high of 100 homicides set in 1981.
African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos account for 85% of the murder victims in Denver, according to the police chief, who said that these groups are being disproportionately affected by killings.
Pazen criticised habitual offenders for the rise in crime in the city and asserted that law enforcement must work in tandem with communities, lawmakers, judges, and prosecutors to reduce criminal activity.
Additionally, he advised individuals to become a member of neighbourhood watch groups, which he claimed were successful at reducing crime.
After Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida in 2012, these civilian organisations came under under investigation. When he killed Martin, age 17, the shooter, George Zimmerman, was serving as the neighbourhood watch coordinator.
The mystery: During the Denver Gazette’s virtual event on Tuesday, Pazen made several remarks that echoed a Republican talking point that is frequently used. Republican lawmakers accuse Democrats of passing policies that they believe increased crime (the reality is much more nuanced).
Republicans have brought up a 2020 bill that would change when force can be used and mandate body cameras for law enforcement, according to CPR News.
In an opinion piece published last year, prominent Republican George Brauchler referred to the rise in crime as a “Colorado crime tsunami” and cited a study by the conservative Common Sense Institute.
State GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown used that phrase on Twitter to disparage Democrats, including governor Jared Polis and attorney general Phil Weiser. Burton Brown commented in May, “Democrats have done NOTHING to make our communities secure.” “We need to alter the people in charge if we want to see progress.”
By the numbers: According to information gathered by the police and provided by Pazen, property crimes are up 53.6% nationwide while violent crimes are up 21.7% in Denver. The rates track adjustments from 2019 through 2021.
Aggravated assaults are up 34.8%, robberies are up 10.2%, and murders are up 52.4%.
Burglaries are up 41.6% while auto thefts are up 137.5%.
The statistics on crime in Denver show a general pattern. According to CPR News, Colorado experienced the fourth-highest increase in crime between 2019 and 2020.
Notably, the data revealed a 21.7% decrease in recorded rapes.
According to Pazen, the agency made more arrests for auto theft last year than any other year on record and seized 2,095 weapons.
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