Feb 14, 2023 - News

Property theft rises in Denver's affluent Cherry Creek neighborhood

Illustration of a steering wheel with a thief's mask on it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Keep your eye on your car if you're shopping in Denver's Cherry Creek neighborhood.

What's happening: One of the city's ritziest and safest neighborhoods is seeing a spike in crime, prompting police to ramp up patrols in the area.

  • Between 2020 and 2022, Cherry Creek had an average of four reported violent crimes a year. Crime hotspots, like Five Points, averaged 42 in that time frame, per Denver police data.

Why it matters: Denver's crime problem has crept into its most unexpected places, particularly when it comes to car theft, which is growing more deadly and dangerous in the metro area.

By the numbers: In the first six weeks of 2023, 63 property crimes have been reported in Cherry Creek — exceeding the numbers for the entire year in both 2020 and 2021, Denver police data shows.

  • The neighborhood has recorded 14 car thefts as of Feb. 7, compared to 14 in 2022 and just six in 2020.
  • Meanwhile, eight violent crimes have been reported so far this year, compared to five last year and four in 2020.

State of play: The area is being targeted for its affluence — the median home sale price was $1.6 million in December.

  • Some officials suspect thieves — typically young men — are stealing one nice car to be unsuspecting when they're en route to steal another expensive ride.

Zoom in: In late January, Allie and her 53-year-old mother were victims of a violent carjacking in a parking garage near their Cherry Creek clothing store. A group of six armed men — all under age 21 — allegedly ambushed them from a vehicle parked next to theirs.

  • They "swarmed the car," then pulled Marchese and her mother from their vehicle and hit them in the face multiple times with their guns, she tells Axios Denver.
  • The suspects, who have since been arrested, also threw all of Marchese's trackable items out the window, including her laptop, and ripped the antenna off the car — like it "was not their first time," she notes.

What they're saying: The crime in Cherry Creek is largely attributed to a few bad actors, a Denver Police spokesperson tells Axios. "There were a number of robberies and carjackings, but those individuals involved were arrested. Since their arrest we haven't had any repeat of those crimes."

What's next: Denver Police tell us they are working to reduce the number of property crimes in the area by increasing their presence in Cherry Creek North and the Cherry Creek Shopping Mall.

  • They are also partnering with Cherry Creek North Neighborhood Association on a new "Business Watch Program."
  • The goal is to connect businesses in the area through a telephone tree system for quick dissemination of information about criminal activity and give the department greater communication with those companies, an agency spokesperson says.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.


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