Crime hot spot: LoDo shooting latest in violent incidents around area

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — A deadly shooting in LoDo early Sunday morning is adding to a dangerous trend in one of downtown’s most popular areas. Our FOX31 Data Desk is tracking 22 aggravated assaults, two murders and 10 robberies so far this year, that’s in just a one mile stretch of Blake Street. 

Many of these crimes are happening on the 1900 block. The location of the latest shooting that killed one man and injured five other people happened at the corner of 19th and Blake streets.

Located on the corner of 19th and Blake is the Beta nightclub. The owner, Valentes Corleons, shared video with FOX31 from Saturday night. Footage captures a line outside his club to get in and a number of off-duty officers. Corleons said he’s hired eight off-duty officers each night to keep things in line.

“I just feel like I have nothing to do with it, it happens after hours when we close at like 3:30 in the morning,” Corleons said. “Why are people still downtown? We shouldn’t have people downtown hanging out.”

Corleons says neighboring businesses have a target on his back and want to blame his crowd for the spike in danger, particularly on Saturday nights.

“For seven years everybody say it’s the hip hop,” Corleons said. “I’m willing to change it, do house music, try it and see if this will slow down.”

The FOX31 Data Desk found 87 crimes dating back to 2016 at Beta’s address, 13 of them in 2021.

“Every venue has calls, every venue has a fight, calls,” Corleons said.

Across the street at the address listed for Hayter’s & Co, our data desk found 21 crimes since 2016 and none at 1UP. Down the street at ViewHouse’s address, the Data Desk found 186 crimes since 2016, 17 this year.

FOX31’s Nicole Fierro asked Denver’s Police Chief Paul Pazen if people should be afraid to go downtown.

“Well, we will continue to do everything humanly possible to increase safety in that neighborhood just as we will in all 78 of Denver’s neighborhoods,” Pazen said. 

Pazen tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers the department is noticing the hot spot shifting to LoDo. He says it is tweaking plans around this trend and Saturday night the department had about 30 additional officers deployed in the area.

“We had to scramble to get the number of officers we had this weekend, we have a plan in place to address through the first week in October, in elevating numbers present, and we had to do that by utilizing off-duty officers as well,” Pazen said. 

DPD is currently down 140 officers. Corleons said he has tried to pay for more off-duty officers at his club, but there are not enough.

“They [neighboring businesses] just want me to walk away, it’s not going to happen,” Corleons said. “I’m willing to do changes, I’m going to try hiring more officers, change my music enforce dress code and we’ll see what happens.”

When talking about the recent spike in LoDo crimes on the weekends, Pazen says we need to do more to get illegal guns off the streets. 

While he wouldn’t directly tie an arrest in the same location and time as the shooting Saturday night, Pazen said officers detained an individual seen shooting out of a car and seized three illegal guns off the street.

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