DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado is rolling out a public safety plan to address a crime wave that’s been a decade in the making.
Public conversation has turned to crime since the pandemic and George Floyd protests seemed to cause a national spike in murders, assaults and thefts. In Colorado, the last two years have indeed been the worst in recent memory for crime rates.
Events of the last two years may have accelerated crime rates, however, they only contributed to a trend that was already happening. Colorado’s total violent crimes and violent crime rates had both been climbing since 2013.
In 2021, there were 517 violent crimes per every 100,000 Coloradans – a 19% increase from 2019 and a 52% increase from 10 years ago. The total number of crimes went from 17,428 in 2011 to just over 30,000 in 2021, a 72% increase overall.
Unlike violent crime, property crime rates were more stable leading up to 2020.
Colorado’s property crime rates per 100 people toggled between 4 and 4.3 for most of the 2010s. Except for a bump in 2012, they didn’t rise substantially in any year and fell in several. In 2020 and 2021, the rate increased by 11% and 13%, respectively.
Though there are no single factors that contribute most largely to crime, Colorado’s violent crimes have become more firearm-heavy in the last decade.
In 2010, about 18% of Colorado’s murders and aggravated assaults were committed with a firearm. In 2021, that percentage grew to 31%.
As with violent crime in general, the percentage of crimes committed with firearms had been going up before 2020. The percent of violent crimes committed with guns had gone from 18% in 2010 to 24% in 2019.