DENVER (KDVR) — No one group is most responsible for violence in Aurora.
The Aurora City Council passed a resolution Monday night directing a program aimed at preventing youth violence to align more with what used to be Aurora’s Gang Prevention Program. The prior program was eliminated in 2018 after voters eliminated the red light cameras that generated money to fund it.
City leaders are bringing the program back in the face of spiking violent crime rates. Some on the council say they are afraid the program is more gang-focused than youth-focused. Law enforcement officials and their social work counterparts use different approaches for each issue.
Aurora may be seeing upticks in both. The number of violent youth offenders has shot up in recent years, but so have those of other age groups, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records.
The number of aggravated assault offenders in Aurora has tripled in the past 10 years, from 59 in 2012 to 186 last year. The number of offenders between the ages of 18-24 doubled from 252 to 446 in the same time.
The raw number of youth offenders, though, is simply part of a broader trend. There are more aggravated assaults in general, and more offenders of all ages.
The number of aggravated assault offenders more than tripled in five years, from under 1,000 in 2015 to 3,250 last year.
Teens committed a smaller share of Aurora’s assaults in that time, however. The percentage committed by teens dropped nearly in half between 2011 and 2021.
Editors note: A previous version of this story misrepresented the relationship between the new youth violence program and the prior program.