AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — After a string of violence involving young people in Aurora, FOX31’s Joshua Short asked Deputy Chief of Police Darin Parker about this ongoing problem.
“We have a responsibility to try to answer that question,” Parker said, adding, “and then how can we stop it or, you know, or at least reduce it? We haven’t. We haven’t come up with that yet.”
The 26-year officer said police are trying to do a lot with very little.
“I’m not going to pin everything on our staffing issue,” he said. “But the reason I think it contributes is we need to keep our patrol division staffed adequately.”
What’s at the root of the violence?
The violence is, only getting worse in Aurora, but not necessarily with teens — despite recent, high-profile shootings at or near high school campuses.
According to the FOX31 Data Desk, there’s really no uptick in teen violence. Aggravated assaults were committed by fewer teens this year so far than in 2017. But there is still an uptick in violence overall, as aggravated assaults nearly doubled this year compared to 2017.
“There’s an incredible amount of guns out on the street, moreso than I think I’ve ever seen in my career,” he said.
Police said that there is indeed a gang issue in Aurora.
FOX31 has learned there’s a gang connection to the Hinkley High School shooting, but there’s no word on whether the Nome Park shooting or the Dayton Street shooting over the weekend were gang-related.
There’s still some distrust between the community and police.
“You know, we have a community relations section that has been just working lights out on trying to make connections with people in the community and bringing the department together with them just to communicate,” Parker said.
“That’s been very effective for us. But if they don’t trust us, and they don’t see us as legitimate, they’re not going to talk to us … but we’re rebuilding that and we didn’t completely lose it,” he said.