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Denver Central Library steps up security measures after spike in 911 calls

DENVER — Illegal and suspicious activity at Denver’s Central Library branch spurred security enhancement that seems to have yielded positive results.

The action comes after library administrators noticed an uptick in service calls to 911 in 2016.

By the end of the year, callers placed emergency calls seeking help for undesirable behaviors such as trespassing and overdoses.

A total of 262 calls were placed to the Denver Police Department in 2016, a 30 percent increase from 2015.

Midyear data show new security measures and officers regularly patrolling the area at the flagship branch have resulted in a 1.53 percent decrease in emergency calls.

The focus on instituting changes that crack down on unwanted behavior have only been in place for eight months, but officials say the hard work is reflected in the positive statistics.

“Our work with the Denver Police Department and agencies throughout the city is beginning to pay off,” city librarian Michelle Jeske said. “We are seeing positive changes that are making our facilities safer for all as we expand our efforts. We have more work to do and we’re confident we’re on the right track.”

Police stepped up patrols inside and outside the library, providing 219 hours of service between May 11 and June 16. Off-duty officers were also deployed to the building, putting in 109 hours during the same time period

In addition to officers regularly patrolling the building at 14th Avenue and Broadway, safety measures include the installation of new HALO cameras, facility modifications and comprehensive staff training.

Police made 40 arrests at the library between January and May, a 33 percent increase from 2016.

Data indicate 17 arrests were made for trespassing, six for warrants, four for assault and six for drug violations.

Since Jan. 1, 61 calls have been made for trespassing, the most common of all violations.

Officials said the measures will continue to be evaluated and tweaked to remain relevant to changing safety concerns.