Violent crimes up, arrests down in Aurora

AURORA, Colo. -- New statistics from Aurora show an increase in violent crime over a one-year period, but the number of arrests is down.

Some are questioning the discrepancies, including residents in neighborhoods where vehicle thefts have increased by nearly 50 percent.

In a city that likes to call itself the “Safest large city in Colorado," the stats showing crime is up are bit unsettling for some.

"Well, the arrests are down, so that’s not good. So we do need more police? We do have to increase the police force," Virginia Mayhall said.

Violent crimes jumped by 17 percent from 2015 to 2016, the Aurora Police Department said. There was also a 7 percent surge in property crimes. However, there was an 11 percent drop in arrests.

“We’re still the safest large city in Colorado, and that’s a good benchmark for us," Aurora police chief Nick Metz told the Aurora Sentinel.

"Aurora has for a long time had to suffer through some pretty unfair characterizations as far as it being a community that has high crime. I think people nowadays are beginning to see Aurora as a much different city than 10 years ago.”

Metz added it could be "just more people are reporting crimes now."

But Aurora City Councilwoman Francoise Bergan is still worried.

"Well, it's concerning, of course. The city of Aurora puts so much emphasis on safety. That's our No. 1 priority," Bergan said.

The population in Aurora continues to grow rapidly, with 35,000 people having moved to the city since 2010.

That’s why Bergan has asked for a study to find out how many police officers are on the city streets.

"Again, there could be those that are assigned to patrol, but they could be injured, for example," Bergan said. "So I want to know how many really could actually be on patrol on any given day."

Bergan said the study will take place before the end of the year. Results could be ready next year or sooner. She said the more detailed data the better.