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.