Feb 4, 2022 - News

Denver deploys more public safety resources to combat crime

Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Mayor Michael Hancock has announced a plan to tackle Denver's crime wave by expanding the city's police presence β€” but even he isn't sure it will work.

Driving the news: In a Thursday briefing to outline his 2022 safety plan, Hancock said policing will broaden at Union Station, and three more "violent crime hotspots" are being added to the five that Denver police started targeting last May.

  • The three areas are near West 14th Avenue and Federal Boulevard, West Mississippi Avenue and South Lipan Street, and East Dartmouth Avenue and Havana Street.

Context: The mayor's move follows months of headlines reporting lawlessness around Union Station and homicide rates hitting a high point for at least the last three decades β€” both of which have become major political talking points for conservatives.

What they're saying: Hancock told Axios Denver on Thursday that city officials aren't much closer than they were in 2020 to identifying β€” or resolving β€” the root causes of the troublesome trends.

  • "We have to move in with the best tools we can and the best knowledge we have to try to solve some of these challenges right now" while learning from other cities, Hancock said.

State of play: Among Denver's top public safety challenges are illegal firearms, youth access to guns and an uptick in opioid and fentanyl addiction, which officials associate with increased violence.

  • Crime reoffenders also are a concern, public safety officials noted. Nearly half of Denver homicides between January 2020 and November 2021 were committed by someone under police supervision, The Denver Gazette reports.

The bottom line: City officials say they will be studying this crime wave "for years" to understand the source of the surge.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. Subscribe here.


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