Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep Westword’s future free.
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series to look at violent crime in Denver. Click here to read our first three reports: “Denver Murder: Victims, Victims, Top Locations For Kills,” “Denver Sex Crimes: Less Than 50 Percent of Rapes Resolved In Last Year,” and “Increased Attack in Denver: Where most of the attacks take place “Happened in 2017.”
In Denver, more than 1,200 robberies were reported in 2017, but fewer than 500 have been cleared by law enforcement, so the odds of the judiciary being well under fifty-five are with the victims.
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.
“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 by law enforcement rejecting the case or by the victim refusing to cooperate. 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.
The definition of robbery used by the CBI is: “Taking or attempting to take and / or make the sacrifice of something of value from the control, custody or care of another person through violence or threats of violence or violence in confrontational circumstances in fear or immediate harm. “
Of the 1,236 robberies mentioned in the DPD data, only 460 are considered evicted. The result is an eviction rate of only 37 percent – by far the lowest percentage in any violent crime category.
Relatively few robberies in Denver around 2017 took place in private households or apartment buildings – a stark contrast to the other crimes in the violent crime category.
Instead, more than half happened on streets or in areas reserved for parking or camping. And nearly a third of the crimes involved companies.
Here is the breakdown:
Street / Parking / Camps: 650
Residence / Residence: 109
Government / public building: 48
Other / Unknown: 19
Educational institution: 9
Construction / Industry / Farm: 1
Familiarity with the term “armed robbery” implies that most of those who commit crimes of this type use guns, and “firearm” was actually the highest number of reports in this category in Denver last year.
But “personal weapons” like fists, feet, and other body parts came in second, far surpassing “dangerous weapons”, a panacea that includes knives and blunt objects.
For this data, continue:
Personal weapons (hands, fists, arms, feet, arms, teeth, etc.): 499
Dangerous weapons: 159
Motor vehicle as a weapon: 8
Fire / explosives: 2
Poison / drugs: 1
Most of the robbery victims were not physically injured during the Denver crimes around 2017. But that is not universal.
Nearly 400 people are said to have sustained minor injuries, and more than a hundred others experienced broken bones, lost teeth or passed out.
The list is as follows:
Obvious minor injury: 393
Serious Injury: 49
Other serious injury: 27
Possible internal injury: 27
Tooth loss: 19
Apparent fractures: 13
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 reporting, stylish writing, and staff who have won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Feature-Writing Award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism . 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.