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CBS4 Investigates Spike In Violent Crime In Denver

Written by Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4) – Murders in Denver are up 138.5 percent for the first eight months of this year, armed assaults have risen 9.1 percent compared to the same time last year and simple assaults have risen 6.7 percent in the first eight months of 2011, according to the Denver Police Department’s statistics for 2011.

“So yeah, we believe it’s a problem and we’re working on it but it’s nothing to alarm people and make them believe they live in an unsafe city,” said Denver Police spokesperson Lt. Matt Murray.

The statistics cover crimes from January through the end of August and show a citywide rise in crimes against persons of 4.3 percent compared to the same period in 2010.

Murray and other police officials argue that their own statistics are skewed because 2010 was a comparatively low crime year with an abnormally low number of homicides. He said Denver crime stats viewed over a longer period of time would not be so alarming. But he acknowledges the year to year numbers are eye-catching.

“There’s 105 more serious assaults — that’s a problem,” said Murray. ”When we see an 8 to 9 percent spike, that’s something we are looking at.”

The number of armed assaults has risen to 133, since Murray was interviewed.

Police are acutely aware that some of the most dramatic rises in crimes against persons are in the Central Business District — downtown Denver.

For the first eight months of this year, aggravated — or armed — assaults, went from 24 last year to 42 this year, a 75 percent increase. There were 18 forcible sex offenses last year, 27 in the first eight months of this year.

While there were 22 simple assaults last year in the Central Business District, so far this year, there have been 54, a 145.5 percent increase.

“We’re aware of it, we’re addressing it and we shift resources to impact it,” said Murray. “But there’s a point where there’s only so much you can do.”

Dan Lickteig, who has managed a Sunglass Hut store on Denver’s 16th street mall for five years, said he has noticed the changes.

“Yes, I have noticed an increase but do I feel more at risk? No, just more aware. I’m noticing more crime in general,” said Lickteig.

He noted the 16th Street Mall feels, “A little bit edgier than three years ago.”

What’s driving the increase in downtown crime?

Lt. Murray said there is no simple answer. Instead he said there are a variety of factors like a struggling economy. He said the police department looks at other issues like recreation center hours being cut back, grant money slashed and a police department with fewer resources to address crime.

CBS4 has also learned the police department is looking at the conduct of its own officers, and how that is impacting crime patterns. Information released to CBS4 by DPD shows that after certain high profile police discipline cases, proactive police work dropped off citywide.

When a videotape was released in April showing two officers tussling with citizens, the two officers were fired for lying about what happened. The next month, May, police activity charts show a distinct drop off in proactive police work.

“We are aware of that,” said Murray, “and commanders are aware of that and they are addressing it in their own respective manners. It’s clear to us that events and morale of the officers impacts the way they perform. We know crime is impacted by proactive efforts of police. Proactive police work does impact crime.”

denver2 CBS4 Investigates Spike In Violent Crime In Denver

DPD says to lessen the chances of being a victim of violent crime downtown, leave the area before midnight.

“Consistently these crimes occur during early morning hours,” said Murray.

Be observant and pay attention to who is around you. Travel in pairs or groups and call a cab if you have been drinking.

Murray says over indulgence in alcohol has been a major factor in who is targeted. The majority of victims were intoxicated according to Murray and in some cases, “They don’t have a clue who assaulted them.”

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: 2011 Crime Statistics

More from Investigates
  • Barry Soetoro

    Increase in crime in a Democrat run sanctuary city? I`m shocked!

    • Whitey Ford

      Exactly. Look at the increase in illegals next to the crime increase. The association is obvious to anyone but a brain dead liberal. Liberal policies toward illegals have consequences Denver, so enjoy what you brought on youreslves. Ah ha.

    • Professoran

      Agree 100%

    • roughman

      It’s just a statistical anomoly…

    • Jeff

      Isn’t the town the Halfro thug chose for his ‘Greek Pillar’ address in 2008 ?



        I just reported you to

      • Christus Regeln

        Which is exactly why I carry a 9mm whenever I go into Denver.


      • VIVA LA RAZA!


      • Jeff

        “Isn’t THIS the town….”

    • Jack

      agreed…how could that happen?

  • Paul

    That’s becasue all the Republicans are leaving in droves due to liberalism destorying what was an amazing state.

    • DenverStinks

      True. Was just there. Legalized Marijuana has turned Denver into a turd-world s*** hole.

      • Richard Henkle

        nono patriot, You have your cause and effect wrong. If pot was legal (federally) the growers would not need to have guns.

      • patrioticamerican

        Bryan, you speak as if pot growers are the most hospitable people on the planet, and not at all armed with guns to kill threats to their stashes.

      • asdf

        um. people don’t kill people for pot.

        It what confused stupid world do you live in?

      • Bryan Cook


        Have you ever heard of a violent crime committed by someone high on weed?

  • david

    138% increase in the Murder rate is nothing to be concerned about? The city is still safe? How much have these people bilked from the people in the name of terrorism?

    • Chris

      How many of these were committed by the criminal police? My guess, most of them. Why do we let people like Devon Sparks have a badge and a gun. You can watch his violent atrocities on you tube under “police officers suspended”. I will always carry a video camera and a gun when I am in Denver. Violent force will be met with justifiable force.

    • barack obama

      Here’s you “Hope and Change” I promised…wanted to leave something behind after the Democratic Convention…..but if you egg heads give me another 455 bil….it’ll be better. I promise…

    • Roze

      You’re right David, it isn’t “terrorists” we need to worry about. They’ve created a matrix and no one can tell what reality is anymore. This whole thing will blow soon enough.

  • MikeJ

    Funny how Californias head to Colorado, Utah, Texas to escape what was going in in CA, but then want their new home state to be just like CA. Stop the insanity people.

    • Whitey Ford

      EXACTLY Mike. Californians ruin everyplace they flee to.

    • ADM

      It’s the same here in New Hampshire. Liberals have moved here from Massachusetts and other states for a “better life”, but still vote Democrat. Many in southern NH still commute to jobs in MA. Soon, it will be just as expensive up here. They’re just going to have a much longer commute.

    • Randy Roberts

      It was only a matter of time before the in-migration from California and other places, not so nice, began to ruin parts of Colorado, especially the Front Range. Hard to see this happen in my lifetime.

  • spectrawatt

    How many more Illegals does Denver have from just a few yrs ago?

    • Richard Henkle

      138% – sorry i don’t actually believe that, just couldn’t resist.

  • john

    I’m tired of Police departments saying they don’t have enough resources to deal with things like this but there are plenty for traffic violations and other areas where they can generate revenue.

    • Bill

      Police forces are not in place to raise revenue!

      • Jim K

        Bill, you are correct however revenue raising does become one of their primary functions.

  • JustAGuy

    Denver is a Democrat run city, uh huh. No suprises there.

    Every violent city in the US is also a city run by Democrats. Guaranteed!

  • Jake

    Paul, you hit hit the nail on the head. Denver is well on the way to becoming just another crime infested welfare state attractive to illegal immigrants just like every other city dominated by liberals – Chicago, New York, San Fransisco, Los Angeles et al…

  • Lori


    I hope your comments were based on the lower socio-economic ‘blacks’ that have been dealt a tough hand in life and not just based on the color of one’s skin. It’s easy for a racist to lump everyone that looks different into the same category, it’s honorable to draw lines based upon living conditions, economic worries, and how they were raised — despite their skin color. Maybe Obama didn’t do much for their self-worth, and maybe you could go help.

    • CaptHook

      The government deliberately deals these people BETTER cards than everyone else gets, but they simply misplay those cards.

      • Phillep Harding

        The ones getting all the help started off better than I did, and they are still better off than I am, being below the poverty line, technically homeless, don’t have big screen TV, etc. But so many of them think I have it better than they do and should pay their welfare, because I’m mostly white. I feel nothing but contempt for those self pitying losers.

      • JL

        Don’t call my bluff

    • Marshall


      “Violent crime is up. Hey, so are numbers of Mexicans and blacks. Unless fewer whites are committing more crimes, which ain’t how whites act, these must be related.”

      “QUACK! It isn’t ‘skin color’, it’s conditions! QUAAAAACK!”

      And so it goes, parsing reality to suit one’s prejudiced narrative.

    • underdog

      You can’t polish a turd no matter how hard you rub.

    • MikeJ

      Hey Lori…what ‘tough hand’ have they been dealt? That they were born the 3rd, or 4th generation to be dependent on welfare and other handouts? That they were born into a socio-group the males of which see it a rite of passage to procreate with as many females as possible and then leave them to fend for themselves and child? That the females see having children as a ticket for a free ride via welfare, Section 8, food stamps? Which of those is the tough hand to which you refer?

      We can solve a whole lot of societies woes by starting with re-establishing a normal nuclear family structure, IMHO.

      • John

        “–Hey Lori…what ‘tough hand’ have they been dealt? –“

        Maybe she meant the tough hand of being born as a member of a group whose average IQ is 85, which certainly makes it more difficult to achieve in life. Now, it is unfortunate having a low IQ, but more unfortunate is blaming a biological reality on the tired canards of “white privilege”, and evil “white racism” for groups that lag behind and commit crimes at hugely disproportionate rates. That’s the real racism; blaming one group (whites) for the actions of other groups (blacks/hispanics). It is Orwellian.

  • MarkF

    Thats why I left that POS state after living in Denver for over 22 years and moved my white ass to Montana. Denver has become a dumping ground over the last 10 years and its Justice system is one of the worst in the nation!!


  • Mike G

    Unfortunately you are right and also unfortunately it is not PC to say it out loud or do anything about it (yet).

  • Garth

    Hmm, sounds like some of the thugs here in Atlanta have moved west.

  • Chance Taylor

    What’s driving the increase in downtown crime?… Minorities, also commonly known at Democrats

  • Jericho

    The dead run the city and the living are preyed upon by the dead. Who will save us from this horror? Oh that’s right, Christ Jesus our Lord. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

    • TJG

      If you can find a way to keep the dead from voting it would also help.

      • Brad

        God is a Democrat. How can we know that? Because that’s the way the dead always vote.

  • CO_Native

    Things just haven’t been the same since the DNC convention came through in ’08.

  • joe

    I would like to see some statistics on the approval of the medicinal marijuana law, drug usage, and crime. I don’t know any of the stats, but it would be interesting to see if there’s any linkage with the fact that there are now more “medicinal marijuana” shops in Denver than Starbucks…

  • Mike

    Not enough resources? Cut narcotics! It’s about time we end this devastating drug war. Why is it so important to keep prohibition alive when all it does is promote violence and wasteful spending? Is anyone else tired of watching the cities bleed?

  • Chris Dyer

    I used to live in S.Colorado. As far as I remember, Denver (Liberal) is just about the only place in the State in which Concealed Carry – and it”s deterrent effect – is not allowed, hence no fear in the minds of lawbreakers. Time to wake up to reality?

  • Wyo

    Funny how nobody says this could be a result of Denver’s stricter gun laws. That couldn’t possibly be a cause. Sanctuary city, criminals knowing law abiding citizens cannot protect themselves, no…there’s no way that could possibly be the reason crime and murders have increased.

    • Marshall

      And just couldn’t be blacks and Mexicans. Have to look for some other cause, no matter how external to the race of the perpetrators of violent crimes. It’s a “sanctuary city”; these genius criminals “know” law-abiders can’t protecy themselves, so they rationally decide to move in and bully abiders out. Or it’s “conditions”. Or something else.

      Never must it be their race, despite how closely “crime” seems to track their habitats. Remember when that “wave of crime” hit northern LA and TX after Katrina? Had nothing to do with all the blacks bused out of NOLA, surely. Must have been those pesky “conditions” …

      How about Georgetown, Guyana, with the highest murder rate in the world? Over 50% black. Most of these are East Indians murdered by blacks, or blacks by blacks. But that doesn’t mean “blackness” is to blame, which is “only skin color”. There is no other genetic / structural difference between anyone. There is literally ONE mutation separating us, related to skin pigmentation. Nothing else. We are genetically identical apart from that one little quirk! Really, it isn’t “blacks” … even where it is only blacks living … and killing …. and raping …

      Plaas Moorde, anyone? 40,000+ South African farmers murdered by blacks and not a word from Saint Oprah?

      Ah well. White people believed the diversity-is-grand myth, and they reap the reality.

  • floridalee

    As in every other major metropolitan area, it is the blacks who are causing the majority of the crime and making our cities unsafe places in which to live.
    Only when whites take personal responsibility for their own protection and start sending these societal misfits to hell will America once again be a fit place to live.

  • SAD

    I lived in Denver for 11 years and moved to MI and was shocked
    to see how the Black people kill each other daily. Or attack the hard working
    people in the state. Like a couple in there 70’s getting gas. We came
    back to Denver for a wedding and the 16th street mall was full of pot heads
    and low lifes. So we went to Boulder and the mall there. All day it was people
    bagging for POT Money. We left after seeing 3 men peeing on the mall street.

    We will vist Colorado again… But we will never go into Denver or Boulder Again !

    SAD…….SO VERY …………SAD……………

  • John D

    Diversity is our greatest strength! Enjoy the blessings.

  • Logan5

    Much of this problem leads straight back to Hickenlooper.

    He wanted to make Denver resemble San Francisco (his model city) by pushing a number of initiatives designed to promote a modern version of Bohemianism. This inevitably changed the character of downtown from what was once primarily a daytime business district to a round-the-clock anything goes playground.

    Much of the transformation of downtown occurred before Hickenlooper came along, of course, and much of it was for the better but the post-Hickenlooper downtown is a noticeably dirtier, grittier, and more dangerous one. Just take a walk down the 16th Street mall of today and compare it to several years ago. What do you see? More panhandlers, more aimless, defiant kids, and a less-refined, countercultural vibe. It just doesn’t feel nearly as much like Denver as it used to and instead seems much more like every other troubled city run by liberals.

    This atmosphere then becomes the catalyst that combines a plethora of bars with mobs of the usual suspects and an unending supply of naive, mostly white prey to create a toxic reaction. Add in the fact that as crime increases, responsible and sane people begin avoiding downtown (thus turning it over to the thugs and their mostly liberal victims) and the downward trajectory becomes a certainty.

    None of this should come as a surprise. Liberals have done this to dozens of other cities. Denver is just their latest victim.

  • Bruce In Denver

    Criminals have been “rolling drunks” for at least several centuries, if not for thousands of years. It’s just that now, they’re a lot more sophisticated about it. Every group that goes out drinking needs to have a “dedicated security” person, just like they have a designated driver. The person should be armed, if possible. We can’t expect the police to protect us. That’s one reason for the 2nd Amendment.

  • Chris Dyer

    Yes! Diversity. And the truth is, it would do well to remember that, young black folks – and all of the people – if you wish to live and THRIVE within any society. It IS easy – just contribute and all good things will follow.

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