Arrests Rising In Denver

The Denver Police Department has released new crime statistics (Excel) detailing arrest rates citywide and in the Westwood neighborhood specifically, where a pilot program in new policing has taken place.

According to the figures, arrests in Westwood are up 49.4%, and 8.9% in the city, when comparing January-June of 2005 to the same period this year. Offenses, on the other hand, are down 12% in Westwood and 8% in Denver.Through a contract with the city, three crime specialists from the Hanover Justice Group were assigned last December to access the Police Department, and find the best ways to cut down on crime.

Westwood was the first neighborhood to experience the recommended strategy, when it was the subject of a six month pilot program that started February 26th of this year, Jeremy Bronson, Special Assistant to the Mayor, confirmed.

The Westwood neighborhood has a population of approximately 15,000 according to recent Census findings, 76% of which are Hispanic. Almost 25% of the residents live in poverty, the numbers show.

The biggest fluctuation in Westwood arrests came with a 750% increase regarding “liquor laws.” There was also a 366.7% increase in arrests relating to traffic offenses, and a 250% increase for vandalism.

One of the hired crime specialists, George Kelling, is the architect of  “broken windows” policing, where law enforcement cracks down on small offenses like vandalism in an effort to extinguish general crime in an area.

But the city insists it’s not about “broken windows.”

“We didn’t hire George Kelling and the Hanover Justice Group  specifically to come implement broken windows in Denver…we hired this consulting organization because the work that they’ve done on a very consistent basis makes police departments more effective, makes crime go down, and improves the relationship between the police department and the community….” said Bronson.

Last March, two college professors released a report claiming that the “broken windows” theory is not responsible for reducing crime.

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About the Author

Erin Rosa

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature.

Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state.

Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters.

She can be reached at erosa@coloradoindependent.com.

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