Horrific crime stats emerge from Colorado
The Common Sense Institute (CSI), a think-tank local to Colorado, reported at the beginning of October 2022 that the state's cities have some of the highest crime rates in the nation.
"Crime in Colorado in 2022: The Data on Colorado's Increasing Crime Problem" was authored by George Brauchler, Mitch Morrissey, and Steven Byers, Ph.D.
"It is very difficult to comprehend Colorado, the Colorado I grew up in ... hosting four cities in the top ten for all these crime rates," said Brauchler at a related news conference, according to The Denver Gazette. Brauchler is the former district attorney for Colorado's 18th Judicial District.
As a fourth-generation Coloradoan, I am also shocked by the findings and by how far our cities have fallen under Democrat governance.
The first paragraph of the first section of the report, "Introduction and Key Findings," gives a reason for the rise in crime. "Advocates for criminal justice reform have made significant inroads in the past few years. Measures have been enacted to decriminalize a range of crimes, reduce the punishments for committing crimes, and pursue decarceration through various means. The results of these actions have had a serious and lasting impact on Colorado communities, resulting in increased crime and a decrease in public safety."
The last paragraph of that section expands the point:
Concurrent with Colorado's rising crime rates, since the start of the pandemic, incarceration in Department of Corrections facilities dropped by 15.5%, the number of offenders on parole by 14.1%, and the number of offenders on probation by 14.4%. A rise in crime should catalyze a corresponding rise in arrests, convictions, and incarceration for the sake of public safety and justice for victims.
A summary of the key statistics reads,
Crime rates in Colorado continue to top pre-pandemic levels. This year, Colorado's average monthly crime rate has been 530 crimes per 100,000 residents, with no relief in sight. While slightly lower than last year's peak, it remains 7.3% higher than in 2019, and 20% higher than in 2008. Incidents of robbery, arson, car theft, vandalism, prostitution, and the purchase of stolen property have continued to increase in 2022. Several violent crimes such as murder, rape, and sexual assault are on pace to be lower than 2021 levels. The most significant decline occurred in fraud due, in large part, to the phasing out of COVID-19 related payments, which had elevated levels of fraud, particularly through unemployment insurance payments. i Compared to other states, Colorado ranks first in motor vehicle theft and second in property crimes. This year, Denver, Aurora, Pueblo, and Westminster ranked among the top ten of 167 American cities surveyed in several crime categories. Pueblo made the top ten in each of 10 categories. Denver's homicide rate rose even as other major cities' rates declined. ii The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) is on track to seize 300% more illicit fentanyl this year than last. According to the CSP, the state is experiencing a 10-year drug trafficking record. Although there has been a decrease in cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking, the amounts of fentanyl and illegal marijuana seized have been significantly higher. The increase in fentanyl is alarming, given its potency. As a lethal dose of fentanyl is a mere two milligrams, the 412 pounds seized so far this year is enough to kill 93 million people. iii The total number of drug overdose deaths has gone up in each of the past three years and opioids, fentanyl in particular, claimed the most lives.
At a recent debate with Democrat Governor Jared Polis, University of Colorado regent Heidi Ganahl, who is running for governor as a Republican, recognized a member of the audience who had only recently lost a child to fentanyl.
"Ganahl, who describes herself as 'a mom on a mission,' argued that rising crime and drug-related overdoses have harmed children and lambasted Polis for signing a 2019 law that weakened penalties for certain types of fentanyl possession," reported CBS News Colorado.
Polis seemed to have no answer for the charges, nor any plan; rather, he tried to say that Ganahl's gas tax and income tax policies would effectively defund the police, which Ganahl denied.
Voters must elect leaders and public servants who will take crime seriously and tackle it directly. Fortunately, some good candidates are running.
Republican attorney general candidate John Kellner was a Marine and is in the Reserves. He was named prosecutor of the year in 2016 in Boulder County and serves now as the elected district attorney for Colorado's 18th Judicial District.
The Republican candidate for sheriff in Jefferson County is Ed Brady. He describes himself as a law enforcement professional and a dedicated volunteer.
Hopefully, Colorado voters will elect a new governor and new blood in law enforcement to change the bleak crime statistics that CSI has reported.
C.S. Boddie writes for Meadowlark Press.