DENVER (KDVR) – Calls for service at several local police departments have gone down since COVID-19 started forcing people to stay home. However, it may be too early to tell whether crime is actually decreasing .
“Oftentimes, it takes a little bit to see trends,” said Paul Pazen, the chief of the Denver Police Department. He anticipates an increase in property crimes and crimes of opportunity in the coming weeks.
As officers are being more judicious about how they interact with the public, the police department could use help from the community, he said.
“Oftentimes, crime is driven by opportunity and if the community members can help us remove that opportunity, then we can drive crime down,” he said.
The chief said he is monitoring crime data as well as strategizing where police officers are needed the most while they can also practice social distancing.
For example, the public might see more officers in areas where there are lots of closed businesses that may be vulnerable to criminals, even if there seem to be fewer people in the area, said Sonny Jackson, a spokesperson for the Denver Police Department.
Some low-level crime reports might be taken by officers via the phone or online while the pandemic persists.
“We are committed to investigate – to follow up, to follow through – with every single crime that takes place,” said Pazen. “In these uncertain times, one thing that I am absolutely certain about is the resolve and the commitment of the women and men at the Denver Police Department, and they’re displaying that every single day, every single shift,” he said.
Denver police crime stats show a weekly decrease in average crime reports. At the start of the month, there was an average of 170 daily crimes reported in Denver. Last week, there was an average of 124.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the city of Aurora and the city of Westminster are also seeing downward crime-reporting trends during the pandemic.
Jefferson County, for example, received 2,733 calls for service at the beginning of March. There were 1,747 as of last week. In Aurora, calls went from 5,338 to 4,024 during that same time frame.