Capitol Hill is one of the most violent neighborhoods in Denver. Typically, the neighborhood’s rate of violent crime declines during the winter. However, a fatal shooting last Wednesday night highlighted the fact that Capitol Hill is becoming a more violent place.
According to a statement by the Denver Police Department, the shooting occurred near East Colfax and Clarkson Street. The victim was an adult male who died on the scene. The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner is yet to release the victim’s ID and confirm the cause of death. Denver Police are appealing for any witnesses to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers.
Violent crime in Capitol Hill
Violent crime in Capitol Hill has risen in each of the last five years. The number of aggravated assaults and homicides has risen from 86 in 2017, to 129 in 2021, compounding at 8.45% per year. August 2021 was the neighborhood’s most violent month, with 18 incidences of violent crime.
According to Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen, the department is receiving 4% more calls at a time when the department is struggling with a massive shortage of police officers. The department has a shortfall of 170 officers, or 10% the normal number of officers. This has resulted in greatly increased emergency response times.
According to Neighborhood Scout, there are just under 9 acts of violent crime for every 1000 in Denver. The city experiences over 6,300 violent crimes a year. Violent crime in Denver is so high that only 2% of cities in America have higher levels of violent crime than the city.
Denver’s violent crime statistics are higher than those of the typical American city, for all major classes of violent crime: murder, rape, robbery and assault. A person is twice as likely to get murdered in Denver, and more than twice as likely to get raped, robbed or assaulted there, than in the typical city in the United States.
Under-Staffed Police Department
The wave of violent crimes has caused some lawyers to worry that an under-staffed police department under pressure from the public, may make mistakes in charging suspects with violent crime. One violent crimes attorney emphasized that it is important to refrain from knee-jerk assumptions of guilt.
Violent crime usually declines at the onset of winter in October, remaining at half the summer average until March. However, in the winter of 2021-2022 there has been no indication of any kind of downturn. Last week’s fatal shooting brings to 64 the number of violent crimes in this winter period, compared to 42 in 2018.
It is likely that the Police Department’s understaffing has encouraged more violent criminals to act, while also allowing violent crimes that would have been prevented before, to go on.