Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series to look at violent crime in Denver. Click here to read our first report, “Denver Murder: Victims, Victims, Top Places for Murders.”

In 2017, Denver committed more than 1,200 non-consensual sex-related crimes, including more than 500 rape, of which less than 50 percent were cleared by law enforcement.

The information comes from Colorado Crime Statistics, an excellent new website recently launched by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The website is very user-friendly and allows users to look up a wide variety of dates for specific time periods and jurisdictions.

We accessed the Denver Police Department digits that deal with violent crimes, including murder, non-consensual sex offenses, aggravated assault, and robbery in 2017, the most recent year for which final statistics are available.

Resolving cases in these combined categories last year proved to be a significant challenge. Only around 54 percent of DPD cases were classified as “resolved”, a term that CBI communications director Susan Medina defines as follows:

“Cleared in most cases means that one or more arrests have been made,” said Medina via email. “However, there are exceptions where an incident has come to a conclusion from a law enforcement perspective. An incident is also deleted if the perpetrator is found but not arrested. These are known as” exceptional clearances ” if the perpetrator is a juvenile who has been released for the parents, or if the perpetrator is determined to have died or if the perpetrator is in the custody of another jurisdiction. Extraordinary clearance can also be granted if the case does not proceed can either be through law enforcement rejecting the case or the victim rejecting cooperation. Then the incident is counted as resolved. “

In all cases, however, “resolved” means that law enforcement has found the perpetrator of the crimes committed in the reported incident, “she said.

Nonconsensual sex offenses are defined as “any sexual act directed against another person without the victim’s consent, including cases where the victim is unable to give consent. Sexual offenses include rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object and caress. “”

The total number of non-consensual sex crimes in Denver as of 2017 was 1,217. Of these, 694 are listed as deleted, which corresponds to a rate of slightly more than 57 percent.
The clearance rate in two subsections of this category was higher – nearly 67 percent for cuddles and more than 61 percent for sodomy.

For rape, which made up the bulk of the total, the percentage cleared was just 45.17 percent and for sexual assault with an object it was 40 percent – although there were only five of the latter incidents in Denver in 2017, making statistics less useful.

Here is the breakdown:

Rape
Number of crimes: 518
Number of crimes: 234
Release percentage: 57.03

Stroke
Number of crimes: 490
Number of crimes: 333
Release percentage: 67.96

Sodomy
Number of crimes: 204
Number of crimes: 125
Release percentage: 61.27

Sexual assault with an object
Number of crimes: 5
Number of crimes: 2
Severance rate: 40.00

Most of the murders in Denver in 2017 occurred on the street or in park or camping areas. However, non-consensual sex crimes occurred mostly in dormitories or private homes last year – a total of 571 incidents.

Next up were companies, educational institutions, and government or public buildings. These data suggest that too often Denverites were victims at work or at school.

See the following location lists:

Residence / Residence: 571
Street / Parking Lot / Camps: 180
Commercial: 169
Educational institution: 120
Government / public building: 104
Other / Unknown: 70
Construction / Industry / Farm: 3

Guns were rarely used in non-consensual sex crimes within Denver city limits in 2017. Most of the victims used so-called “personal weapons”, including hands, fists, arms, feet, arms and teeth.

Firearms, which were cited in the vast majority of murders, were used in only ten of the 1,217 cases.

Continue for this data grouping:

Personal weapons (hands, fists, arms, feet, arms, teeth, etc.): 1,041
Other: 84
Unknown: 82
Dangerous weapons (including knives and blunt objects): 13
Firearms: 10
Poison / drugs: 8
Suffocation from drowning, choking, choking, gas: 1

The ages of non-consensual sex crime victims in Denver last year have been grouped among those aged 34 or younger – and often much younger.

Twelve victims were fewer than ten and more than 100 were between ten and seventeen. More worrying, however, is the number of victims in demos 18-24 and 25-34: 307 and 412, respectively.

The sums are as follows:

Under 10:12
10-17: 102
18-24: 307
25-34: 412
35-44: 272
45-54: 200
55-64: 115
65 and older: 37
Unknown: 7

In comparison, the age of the offenders in this category is fairly evenly distributed across different age groups. Seven children under the age of ten are listed as offenders, and the sums rise from there.

Most Denver offenders were between 35 and 44 years old last year, but hardly as you can see.

Under 10: 7
10-17: 214
18-24: 124
25-34: 240
35-44: 242
45-54: 91
55-64: 82
65 and older: 35
Unknown: 216

The 2017 Denver data confirms the theory that most sex crime victims know the person or people who harmed them.

I support

  • Local
  • Community
  • journalism

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep Westword’s future free.

Well over half of the 1,217 crimes were committed by friends, family members or so-called “intimate people”. But there have also been more than 200 crimes committed by strangers against individuals.

These dates are here:

Acquaintance: 506
Stranger: 245
Family: 205
Unknown: 168
Intimate: 105

Keep Westword Free … Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we want to keep it that way. We offer our readers free access to concise coverage of local news, food and culture. Produce stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands with bold coverage, stylish writing, and staff, everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Feature Writing Award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism have won. With the existence of local journalism under siege and setbacks having a greater impact on advertising revenue, it is more important than ever for us to raise support for funding our local journalism. You can help by joining our “I Support” membership program which allows us to continue to cover Denver without paywalls.

Michael Roberts has been writing for Westword since October 1990 and has worked as a music editor and media columnist. It currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.