Violence in Denver so far this year is on track to meet or exceed the bloodshed of 2020, when the city recorded the highest number of homicides since 1981.
In the first six months of this year, 43 people were killed in Denver homicides — a few more than the 39 people killed in Denver in the same period last year.
Denver police Chief Paul Pazen said in January that he didn’t want the 95 homicides recorded in 2020 — a 51% increase from the prior year — to become the norm. But the violence hasn’t abated.
“We’re trending even above where we were last year, and last year we had too many people who lost their lives in our city,” Pazen said in a June interview.
Denver is not the only U.S. city experiencing an increase in violence in 2020 and 2021. Police, academics and on-the-ground violence intervention workers have pointed to a wide range of potential causes: economic uncertainty and stress from the global pandemic, delegitimization of police after highly publicized cases of police brutality and protests, and a lack of police proactivity.