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.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Colorado's crime rate creeps up 0.4 percent, driven by big jump in violent crimes - The Denver Post

Colorado's crime rate creeps up 0.4 percent, driven by big jump in violent crimes - The Denver Post

Despite the persistent economic recession and rising unemployment, the number of reported auto thefts and other property crimes decreased in Colorado in 2009, but violent crimes, including homicides, shot up.

While the rest of the country had an 11 percent decrease in reported homicides, Colorado saw a 12 percent increase from 151 in 2008 to 169 in 2009, according to the state crime report released Thursday.

"The most difficult factor is why these happen," said Jacki Kelley, sheriff's spokeswoman in Jefferson County, where the number of murders went from none in 2008 to six in 2009. "We've had a spike in domestic-related cases."

Violent crimes in all categories across the United States dropped 5.5 percent, while violent crimes increased in Colorado by 3.4 percent, according to reports from the FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

The total number of crimes in all categories in Colorado increased 0.4 percent last year. But because of an increase in the state's population, the crime rate per 100,000 residents actually decreased by 1 percent.

Property crimes, including automobile thefts, decreased 1.5 percent from 2008 to 2009, said CBI spokesman Lance Clem. The state's crime rate remains one of the lowest in the nation, he said.

"It's an extraordinarily safe state," Clem said.

The statewide rise in homicides was driven by increases in the number of killings in several suburban areas. In Boulder, Englewood, Broomfield, Lakewood and Jefferson County, the combined number of homicides increased from two in 2008 to 25 last year.

Many of them were domestic cases, but Kelley, the Jefferson County spokeswoman, said each murder in her county was sparked by different circumstances.

Broomfield, which hadn't had a murder since 2004, had five in 2009. A police spokesman said he wasn't aware of any particular reason for the jump in homicides.

The number of hate crimes across Colorado increased 25 percent, from 164 in 2008 to 218 in 2009. In Denver, prosecutors charged that groups of teens and young adults targeted whites in dozens of robberies and beatings, mostly in downtown.

More rapes reported

Rapes increased in Denver last year by 23 percent, from 278 to 343, according to the CBI report.

Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said the increase in cases reflects that victims feel more comfortable to report rape. Historically, it has been an underreported crime, he said.

"I'd rather have people come forward and report them than suffer in silence," Jackson said.

The decrease in property crimes was one bright spot statewide.

The crime category with the biggest drop was auto thefts, Clem said. He said a metro Denver auto-theft task force broke up several car-theft rings, which had a dramatic impact on the number of thefts.

"That's good news for anyone who buys auto insurance," said Frank Scafidi, spokesman for the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

As the number of theft claims decreases in an area, so do insurance premium rates, he said.

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