DENVER (KDVR) — People who live and work along a stretch of East Colfax Avenue say something has to be done for crimes like the shooting that killed a man and wounded five others on Tuesday.

Both groups and police say efforts are underway to improve the quality of life there and slow down crime. Some businesses here have been getting updated surveillance cameras, reinforced glass and additional lighting.

East Colfax community ‘in flux’

A group called The Fax Partnership is helping lead the charge in making the area safer. Lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest problems, the group said.

“There’s a lot of people doubling up on homes here. It adds to stress and trauma to residents that live in a community that is in flux,” The Fax Partnership Executive Director Monica Martinez said.

The Fax has now converted the Westerner Motel to a place where unhoused people can stay temporarily.

The shooting of six people happened right across the street. The motel’s surveillance cameras captured the shooting.

On Wednesday, FOX31 saw Christopher X, who is with the Nation of Islam Mosque Denver trying to help people in difficult situations here.

“I’m lending my ear to hear the anger. They can’t do nothing about it because lack of understanding (of the many troubles they face),” X said.

Violent crimes rising in the area

FOX31 data reporter DJ Summers discovered that there have been 165 violent crimes near East Colfax and Yosemite Street this year — things like aggravated assaults, robberies and attempted homicides. Two people have been killed here so far this year.

In 2022, there were 222 violent crimes. in 2021, there were 183.

“We’ve seen a lot of violence among the residents that live here. I do think that is part of the story of the challenge of affording housing,” Martinez said.

The Denver Police department would not go on camera about efforts to fight crime in the area. But they did send FOX31 detailed information about crime-fighting strategies. (Their full response is posted at the end of this story.)

They said they are working on getting more patrols in the area, lighting and surveillance cameras.

So far, none of the suspects in Tuesday’s shooting has been arrested, and no motive was clear, police said.

Denver Police Department on East Colfax crime

Here is DPD’s full response on crime-fighting measures near East Colfax and Yosemite:

  • Installation of three HALO cameras at New Freedom Park – soon to be permanent
  • Worked with Xcel Energy to increase lighting at the New Freedom Park 
  • Increased Denver Police officer foot patrols
  • Conducting Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) assessments at businesses and educating business owners how to increase safety by reducing opportunities of crime, such as, trimming bushes, increasing lighting, locking doors and windows, etc.
    • Including apartment complexes with the goal of contacting each of them in the area in the coming months
  • Utilizing ARPA funds for business improvements to include better lighting, anti-graffiti paint and anti-shatter film for windows/glass doors 
  • Hiring of a DPD victim’s assistant specialist to focus on working with residents in that area who have been impacted by violence
  • Partnered with Food Bank of the Rockies and Hope Communities to distribute food every other Wednesday to the community
  • Working with the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to increase traffic safety and enhance traffic control in the area, especially at the park
  • Participate in monthly walks with community members that focus on different areas of the neighborhood to understand issues and build relationships 
  • Grant for overtime for additional patrols in the area