Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Colorado Crime Rates Continue Decline

The Denver Post

Colorado's overall crime rate dropped last year for the third time since 2005, and property crimes continued to fall in the state despite a persistent recession.

The total number of major crimes reported in Colorado decreased 6.1 percent from 2007 to 2008, and the number of crimes reported per 100,000 residents, known as the crime rate, decreased 8 percent, according to the 2008 Crime in Colorado Report.

The biggest decrease came in the number of auto thefts, which dropped a surprising 22 percent from 16,353 committed in 2007 to 12,740 last year, according to Sgt. John Hahn, spokesman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which compiles the statistics from reports across the state.

One explanation is that habitual auto

thieves are serving lengthier prison terms than they did previously. They are often prolific pattern criminals, and when you take one off the street, the total number of cases decreases sharply, Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said.

"We can't say exactly one thing has made a difference," Jackson said. There are many factors, including increased patrols and better communication in identifying trends, he said.

One recent change that has increased arrests is the collecting of DNA samples at property-crime scenes. Police previously took DNA only in violent crimes, including rape and murder.

Although the total number of homicides in Colorado increased by one from 150 in 2007 to 151 last year, the rate of murder per 100,000 people decreased by 3 percent because of an increase in Colorado's population.

One area of continuing concern is sex crimes. The total number of reported rapes and attempted rapes in Colorado increased from 1,949 in 2007 to 2,026 in 2008, according to a state report to be released today.

The bad economy could have been a factor, said Allison Cotton, associate professor of criminology at Metropolitan State College of Denver.

Rape is a crime of control, Cotton said, and when people are unable to make ends meet, they feel stress and seek to gain control by other means.

Another possible explanation is that women are beginning to feel more confident about reporting sexual assaults because they realize their account will be supported by DNA evidence.

"Rape is one of the most under-reported crimes in our society," Cotton said.

The sexual assaults included a string of stranger rapes near the University of Colorado at Boulder. In one of the attacks, a 20-year-old woman was gang-raped by four men on Oct. 30 as she was walking home from a Halloween party.

The rate of forcible rapes per 100,000 people increased 1.7 percent as Colorado's population increased from an estimated 4.9 million in 2007 to an estimated 5 million in 2008, according to the crime report.

Colorado's overall results, however, are slightly better than the nation as a whole. Preliminary national statistics from the FBI show a drop of 2.5 percent in the total number of violent crimes reported last year compared with the year before, and a 1.6 percent drop in property crimes.


Anonymous said...

Not one fact about how drugs affect the crime rate. DOC says 2/3 are abusers of drugs, the focus by the justice system is still to lockem up and throw away the key. Too many people, like those interviewed make money off this system to actually have any ideas to reform it and to cut their jobs so we can educate and keep people healthy. But again, you are dealing with some very stupid people here that could not make it in another occupation.mpc

Anonymous said...

Well said. Very well said, mpc.