By Melissa Garcia
DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – Denver police officials are looking into the 44-minute officer response time to a devastating break-in.
Vandals broke into a woman’s home in northeast Denver Friday night, causing significant damage and stealing thousands of dollars in cash and valuables.
A neighbor called police to report the burglary in progress at 9:21 p.m. Officers responded on scene at 10:04 p.m. The suspects got away, leaving the homeowner with big losses.
“It was one thing for you to steal things what I had worked really hard to obtain, but (especially) to actually trash my home,” said the homeowner, between tears.
The homeowner, who didn’t want her name identified, walked into her condo to find the steel front door kicked in. The destruction inside was worse. Vandals flipped over furniture, poured food on the floor, and threw her clothes all over the carpet.
“My safe was actually up here and it was hidden by purses,” said the homeowner, opening her closet.
The burglars stole cash, checks, jewelry, and electronics, along with almost every valuable she owned.
Neighbors called 911 to report loud noises. When officers arrived at the home 44 minutes later, the burglars were gone.
“I feel like a lot of this could have been avoided if (police) would have responded quicker,” said the homeowner.
Christine Downs, a spokesperson for the Denver Police Department, said that the call came into dispatch not as a burglary in progress, but rather as a call of an “unknown nature.”
“The call came in from a neighbor that heard some suspicious sounds,” said Downs. “So we were going based on that information. We did take some time to get out there, so we’re looking into see if something happened and if there’s a way we can improve.”
The homeowner hopes that improvement in response time could help prevent similar loss for future burglary victims.
“I’m just going to have to take it as a loss, and a lesson,” said the homeowner, sobbing. “An expensive lesson, but nevertheless, a lesson. You can’t just assume that you’re safe.”
Police said that in this case, there was no suspect description.
Sonny Jackson, another police spokesperson, said that the 44 minutes may have been an acceptable response time depending on other variables, including what other crimes were in progress in the area at the time.
Jackson said that 911 calls are prioritized by threat to human life.