COVID-19 impacts how officers respond to crime calls

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — The pandemic has had a major impact on how local law enforcement fights crime and solves cases. Police have had to adapt, and some crime victims have, too.

Ken Zemora went to get into his car with his son Sunday and found his truck smashed with the ignition torn apart and all of his work equipment stolen.

“All of my tools were in there, all my plumbing tools, power tools, hand tools, and I just started with this company too,” Zemora said.

After just quarantining for two weeks with a positive COVID test, this is the last thing Zemor and his family wanted to worry about.

“How am I going to do my job, how am I going to make money to support us and my son was just like, ‘It’s okay daddy, we will get through this,’” Zemora said.

Zemora’s wife, Cassandra, called police to file a report, and they were surprised with one of the first questions asked.

“Asking us if we had been around anybody with symptoms,” Cassandra said.

“That’s a conversation that the call takers are having with everyone that calls into our call center,” Denver Police Division Chief Ron Thomas said.

Thomas tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers since March, certain crimes may prompt a phone-call response or online reporting instead of taking a report in person.

“We’re primarily talking about cold property crimes,” Thomas said, adding, “Instances where the suspect has already gone from the scenes, burglary theft from vehicles those type of crimes.”

Problem Solvers asked Thomas if he thinks the changes have had an impact on officers’ ability to cover these cases.

“I don’t think that there’s a huge investigative impact, most of the crimes we are talking about have low solvability rates depending upon the evidence that’s available,” Thomas said.

When Zemora’s wife tried reporting their case online, she received a technical difficulty notice, then an officer eventually came to collect information in person.

Problem Solvers asked if the online system can handle this shift in reporting.

“It’s working relatively well, there’s been no shutdowns of the system because of more people getting online,” Thomas said. “There has been a delay in capturing the data but ultimately we are able to collect data for crimes reported on particular days of the week.”

“They won’t come out for a virus but they will put their lives on the line to take a bullet, it’s just shocking,” Zemora said.

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