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Downtown Denver property crime fell in 2023 as leaders double down on safety plan

Downtown Denver
Posted at 8:23 PM, Jan 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 00:12:07-05

DENVER — More than a year after the City of Denver and the Downtown Denver Partnership launched the “Together We Will” safety initiative, agencies are doubling down on the efforts with the launch of yellow-vested Denver Ambassadors and a fresh Clean and Safe Denver smartphone app.

Denver7 pulled crime data from the Denver Police Department to see what impacts the safety plan had in 2023. The numbers below show crimes reported by DPD in the Central Business District and Union Station areas in both 2022 and 2023, after the launch of the initial safety plan.

  • Violent crime in 2022: 12
  • Violent Crime in 2023: 14
  • Property crime in 2022: 75
  • Property crime in 2023: 56
  • "Other" crime in 2022: 63
  • "Other" crime in 2023: 83

Violent crime in the area was up just barely, with two more reported incidents in 2023 compared to 2022. Property crime saw a significant reduction, with 56 incidents reported in 2023 compared to 75 in 2022.
The “other crimes” category, which includes many lower-level crimes like public disorder and drug and alcohol use, climbed to 83 in 2023 from 63 in 2022.

City leaders said that jump in “other crimes" is actually evidence of the boots on the ground deployed under the safety plan.

“There are greater resources for enforcement than there were, say, a year ago,” said Kourtney Garrett, president of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “So a lot of the upticks that we see are due to that. We have more eyes and ears on the street. We have greater reporting from the community.”

The Downtown Denver Partnership worked first with then-Mayor Michael Hancock to kick off the downtown safety plan, then called Together We Will. DDP is now working with Mayor Mike Johnston to continue the effort and connect it with his House1000 homeless initiative.

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The latest phase, announced earlier this week, sends scores of ambassadors — donning neon yellow vests — throughout the city to connect people in crisis with services. Mayor Johnston said this will build on the success of the House1000 initiative and keep crime moving in the right direction in 2024.

“Last year, we had 8,000 911 calls,” Johnston said. “That’s 8,000 calls officers in downtown don’t have to respond to this year, which means there’s not only more officers — we can use their time better to go to the places they’re needed the most.”

While community leaders are touting improvement since the high crime of 2022 — which the numbers seem to bear out — we wanted to hear about the day-to-day experience of working downtown.

We spoke with Andrew Haynes, a bartender at Pour House on Market. Haynes often works the closing shift and said he has noticed a safer and cleaner atmosphere in recent months. He hopes city leaders stay the course.

“I think that safety has gone up a lot,” Haynes said. “I think drama and violence and crime have gone down a lot on this block. A lot of bartenders always text each other [when] something is going around, or we should watch out for somebody or some group. I think that’s something that’s helped us on this block a lot.”

Downtown Denver property crime fell in 2023 as leaders double down on safety plan

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