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llegally trafficked weapons seized by law enforcement. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Denver is partnering with federal authorities to crack down on illegal firearm possession and combat rising violent crime in the city.

Why it matters: The number of deadly shootings in Denver have soared to new highs since 2020, and the spike in homicides comes coupled with an uptick in police shootings, according to a list compiled by Colorado Public Radio.

Driving the news: On Wednesday, Denver officials announced that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will embed a specialized agent within the Denver Police Department to help identify and prosecute top offenders.

  • Officials want to put armed felons "on notice" and communicate that offenders face serious penalties — including up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine — Denver police chief Paul Pazen said at a press conference.

Of note: Denver and federal authorities are also partnering to post billboards in five areas that account for a disproportionate amount of violent crime — mostly lower-income and more diverse communities — to encourage residents to report gun crimes and store firearms safely.

The big picture: The number of firearms seized by the Denver Police Department this year is up more than 25% compared with the last three years, Pazen said.

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Go deeper

Sep 17, 2021 - Axios Denver

The state of friendships in Denver

Data: Axios questionnaire responses; Chart: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

Despite Denver residents’ openness, the city can be a hard place to make new friends, according to the nearly 200 readers who responded to our informal questionnaire.

Why it matters: Friendships are on the decline nationally, Axios' Mike Allen reports.

Sep 17, 2021 - Axios Tampa Bay

Tampa Police in Twitter beef with the Times

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Tampa Police Department claims reporters didn't tell the whole story after the Tampa Bay Times published an investigation into the department.

The investigation: Journalists Chris O'Donnell and Ian Hodgson reported that a TPD program started under former police chief and current mayor Jane Castor urged landlords to evict hundreds of mostly Black tenants after arrests.

  • But families still lost their homes even after charges were dropped.
  • The story opens with a family who lost their home after a 16-year-old stole $4.44 in change, a glove, a flashlight, a hoodie and wireless headphones.
  • The program, meant to target "documented violent offenders, gang members or career criminals" led to the eviction of those with misdemeanors even if charges didn't stick.

Some Black leaders eye talks with police organizations

San Diego Police officer Ben Kelso, 53, talks with resident O.J. Phillips. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

A Black Baptist minister is pushing for Black communities to engage directly with police organizations on criminal justice reform — a counter to progressive groups urging radical changes.

Why it matters: Homicide rates are soaring across the country and some civil rights advocates fear they'll lose momentum on fighting systemic racism if they don't include police in reform efforts.

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