The number of shootings in the Capitol Hill area from Jan. 1 to July 10 this year doubled from the same period in 2017, according to data from the Denver Poice Department.
Two recent shootings occured in May: On May 7, two people were shot near East Colfax Avenue and North Clarkson Street. On May 22, a person was shot at East 13th Avenue and North Marion Street.
Denver police data showed that in 2017, from Jan. 1 to July 10, officers received seven calls for shootings for the area from East Colfax Avenue and North Clarkson Street to East 13th Avenue and North Marion Street. One of those calls had a confirmed shooting victim. This year, for the same time frame and area, there have been 14 calls for shootings, with three confirmed victims.
Ronald Saunier spent six years in major crimes and then later served as commander of Police District 6 for two years. Saunier was recently promoted to division chief on the administrative side of the police force. District 6 covers Capitol Hill, downtown, the ballpark area, Uptown, as well as parts of the Curtis Park and Five Points neighborhoods.
The increase in shootings cannot be pinned down to any one source, Saunier said. Some have been gang-related, others involved drugs.
The reasons for the shootings were often varied, but a common denominator for crime on Colfax relates to narcotics, Saunier said.
Because of drug activity on the street, Saunier said he worked to increase bike patrols on the street. Officers work in shifts, making sure that Colfax is covered for a large portion of the day.
Before the May shootings, Saunier said that Denver’s violent crime rates had been decreasing.
“We’ve put a lot of effort on Colfax,” he said. “We have seen some successes in reduction of crime.”
In 2017, the violent crime rate in Denver was 5.85 per 1,000 citizens, according to Denver police. Last year, Denver saw a decrease of 1.6 percent in overall robberies from January to July when compared to 2016. Saunier said Denver police recently arrested a suspect connected to several street robberies.
To stay safe, people need to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious activity, Saunier said. At night, it’s better to stay in groups.
“People become more victimized walking solo, especially at night,” he said.
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