Along with population, criminal activity also up | VailDaily.com

Along with population, criminal activity also up

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The Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s 2015 report can be accessed at www.colorado.gov/cbi through the Crime in Colorado link.

CBI Colorado Crime Report

Major Crime Category 2015 2014 Percentage Change

Homicide 172 150 14.7%

Rape 3,275 2,961 10.6%

Robbery 3,321 3,031 9.6%

Aggravated Assault 10,682 10,213 4.6%

Other Assaults 34,028 31,556 7.8%

Burglary 23,333 23,134 0.9%

Larceny 102,369 98,315 4.1%

Motor Vehicle Theft 15,932 12,478 27.7%

Total 193,115 181,838 6.2%

Fifth Judicial District Criminal Activity

Cases by Office FELONY JUVENILE MISD TRAFFIC Totals

EAGLE 176 27 345 1055 1603

SUMMIT 135 20 266 822 1243

CLEAR CREEK 59 7 147 595 808

LAKE 38 7 132 190 367

TOTAL CASES 408 61 890 2662 4021

THIS IS THE COMPARABLE 2015 DATA BUT IT COMPRISES THE ENTIRE YEAR:

Cases by Office FELONY JUVENILE MISD TRAFFIC Totals

EAGLE 389 44 732 1773 2938

SUMMIT 272 36 550 1463 2321

CLEAR CREEK 82 11 285 1028 1406

LAKE 55 17 262 387 721

TOTAL CASES 798 108 1829 4651 7386

EAGLE — The region’s improving economy is boosting the population, and with it the crime rate. However, almost none of it has anything to do with dope.

Crime across Colorado’s Fifth Judicial District — Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek counties — is up 10 percent through the first six months of this year, according to data from the District Attorney’s office. If that rate holds, then the DA’s office will file charges in about 1,000 more cases (8,000) by the end of this year than in 2015 (7,000).

“The offices are run by the attorneys and staff that make it possible for the 7,000 cases a year throughout the year to be effectively prosecuted,” said District Attorney Bruce Brown.

If those offices handle about 8,000 cases this year, then that’s an increase of about 18 percent.

More opportunistic

Whether crime is actually up, or whether people are being charged more often, remains unclear.

However, we’re not more violent, but some of us are more opportunistic, said Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek, who said the uptick in crime tends to reflect a population increase.

When the economy tanked in 2008, Eagle County’s population hemorrhaged about 6,000 people, many of whom had lost their jobs. Eagle County’s population is back over 53,000 souls, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

The construction industry, for example, is a popular target for thieves stealing tools, generators or other items easily sold, van Beek explained.

“More people create more opportunity for some to make a quick buck stealing copper or tools, that sort of thing,” van Beek said.

Van Beek also attributes some of the crime uptick to increased community policing. Cops are reaching out, and making themselves more accessible.

“Being active in the community is important. Police are only as effective as the community allows them to be,” van Beek said. “It might be more crimes are being reported because people are more comfortable reporting them, instead of letting them go unreported.”

The age-old trifecta of youth, testosterone and alcohol could also play a part in the uptick in crime.

More people, more bars and activity equal more opportunity for people to run afoul of one another, along with our resort lifestyle, van Beek said.

Headline-grabbing homicides may affect perceptions of increasing violent crime. Eagle County saw five homicides in 18 months. Hopefully that’s an anomaly, van Beek said.

“We usually get one every three to five years,” he said.

Colorado crime up 6.2 percent

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s statewide 2015 Crime in Colorado Report collects crime data from 245 law enforcement agencies across Colorado. That agency found an overall increase of 6.2 percent in the number of reported crimes, compared to 2014.

More people stole motor vehicles — a 27.7 percent jump — for the largest statewide increase across the categories of crime.

Don’t blame dope

After Colorado voters legalized retail marijuana, Denver safety officials began tracking crimes they believe are marijuana-related. Most years, marijuana-related offenses make up less than 1 percent of all Denver crime.

Three Metro State University studies came to the same conclusion.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.




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