Restoring community safety is fundamental to realizing the Promise of Denver – and it is closely tied to our education, economic development, housing, and health care strategies because safety is integrally linked to opportunity, stability, and health. Creating a safer Denver will require thoughtful, nuanced policies and comprehensive approaches. But more importantly, it will require the leadership, commitment, and persistence to build trust.
Transparency, honesty and accountability are critical to rebuilding trust and will be central to my community safety strategy. My ideas for action include:
- Deploying the right responder for each situation. We need a broad array of police and non-police personnel and approaches.
- Building police culture around national best practices, transparency and accountability. Embrace a culture of continuous improvement and peer learning in our public safety agencies.
- Investing in community, crime prevention and restorative practices. Access to a good education, economic opportunity, housing and health care are all critical to community safety. My focus will be as much on these drivers of safety as on emergency response.
Violent crime has increased almost 40% since 2019 from 5,118 to 7,070 incidents in 2022.
The number of homicides increased 55% from 60 in 2019 to 93 in 2021. There were 86 homicides in 2022.
Property crime has also catapulted (over a 60% increase) since 2019 with 16,388 additional reports of property crimes in 2022. (27,206 property crimes in 2019; 43,594 property crimes in 2022).
Colorado has the highest rate of stolen cars in the nation today. Denver’s annual rate of stolen cars has increased over 80% in the last few years (5,335 in 2019 to 14,741 in 2022).
Evaluation of the STAR program found that in the neighborhoods that STAR was piloted, lower-level crimes fell by 34%, fewer citations were issued and people were less likely to reoffend with an estimated 1,400 fewer criminal offenses in Denver because of the program
Gun violence has decreased in some hot spots in Denver, but it is still far too high with at least 239 individuals injured by guns in 2022.
Denver’s 2023 budget added 43 uniform officer positions to the 1,464 uniform positions appropriated in 2022, authorizing the hiring of 188 recruits.
Deaths in Denver related to opioids – including fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times more potent than heroine – increased by 308% between 2019 and 2021.