Crime in Colorado Paints a Dire Picture

COMMENTARY Crime and Justice

Crime in Colorado Paints a Dire Picture

Oct 27, 2022 2 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Zack Smith

Legal Fellow and Manager, Meese Center for Legal Studies

Zack is a legal fellow and manager of the Supreme Court and Appellate Advocacy Program in Heritage’s Meese Center.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann speaks at the at DA office in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Hyoung Chang / The Denver Post / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann has bought into the radical non-prosecution policies of the rogue prosecutor movement.

Violent crime, which includes sexual assaults, robberies, murders, and aggravated assaults, is up 20.84% when compared to the average from the past three years.

Whatever their beliefs about “the system,” they need to appropriately charge people who commit crimes, and to seek appropriate sentences and justice for victims.

It’s common sense—or it should be.

When drugs are legalized and criminals aren’t prosecuted, violent crime rates increase, and communities suffer.

That’s true in Denver, which is seeing a shocking increase in certain crimes, largely driven by the soft-on-crime policies of its elected leaders.

Unfortunately, rather than focusing on combating this increase in crime, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann has bought into the radical non-prosecution policies of the rogue prosecutor movement.

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Those in this movement believe that our criminal justice system is racist and that we have a mass incarceration problem in our country.

Our criminal justice system isn’t racist, and we don’t have a mass incarceration problem because most people currently in prison are serving sentences for committing violent crimes.

But McCann still seems more interested in pushing forward the radical policies advocated by organizations such Fair and Just Prosecution, which pushes policies that are—ironically—neither fair nor just.

So, how bad are things in Denver?

According to the Denver Post, as of Oct. 6:

  • Violent crime is up 8.3% compared to the same period in 2021;
  • Property crime is up 5.9%
  • Domestic violence is up 17.3%
  • Sex assault is up 13.6%
  • Serious assaults are up 9.2%
  • Robberies are up 4.3%
  • Car thefts are up 21.2%
  • Drug crimes are up 29.7%

To be fair, burglaries and few other crimes are down. But the picture becomes more shocking when the available data for 2022 is compared to the 3-year average for certain crimes.

For instance, auto-thefts in Denver are up over 78% when compared to the three-year average (from 2019-2021) for that same crime.

And violent crime, which includes sexual assaults, robberies, murders, and aggravated assaults, is up 20.84% when compared to the average from the past three years.

While the official crime statistics show Denver’s 64 murders so far in 2022 being fewer than at the same point in 2021, local law enforcement officials are sounding the alarm, saying that homicides this year could break the record the city set in 1981, when it experienced 100 murders.

So how does Denver get a grip on its crime crisis?

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Any easy place to start is for elected leaders like McCann to recognize that their soft-on-crime approach isn’t working.

Whatever their beliefs about “the system,” they need to appropriately charge people who commit crimes, and to seek appropriate sentences and justice for victims.

Unfortunately, such a shift seems unlikely.

Of course, many of the most violent cities in the country, such as St. Louis, Chicago, and Baltimore, also have rogue prosecutors who share McCann’s radical non-prosecution vision.

The citizens of these cities deserve better from their elected leaders, and so do the citizens of Denver.

This piece originally appeared in The Gazette