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Colorado district attorney warns people of possible crime wave as the state works reopening

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Posted at 6:24 AM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 08:31:22-04

DENVER — As Colorado enters its safe-at-home phase and counties begin to open up, the increase in freedom could come with a cost, according to 18th Judicial District Attorney George H. Brauchler.

"As we get back our liberty, there will be greater opportunities for crime and I think that they will surpass what we saw before," he said.

Brauchler says a crime wave could be on the horizon as the economy begins to open, and as the state continues its fight against the novel coronavirus.

One of the factors is a hurting economy.

"If you combine that with some of the decisions that the governor has made, including encouraging the department of corrections to cut loose 500 to 700 currently incarcerated convicted felons, and the fact that we have now told jails, 'We want you to have as few people in there as possible' — that’s resulted in a huge uptick in crime like motor vehicle theft," he said. "All of those things combined tell me that we are headed into a very difficult place."

Although Brauchler agrees with some of the governor’s decisions, he said he's worried about potential consequences.

"House burglaries have dropped a bunch because we’re all a home," he said.

In several counties, crime is down. According to the Denver Police Department, murder, rape and robbery are down but it has seen an increase in aggravated assault and burglary.

As for child abuse cases, Brauchler said he believes crimes are still occurring but under-reported.

"Child abuse — a significant number of those cases come from people like teachers and Department of Human Services workers going home to home to check on kids and families," he said. "What we have seen in our office over the period of the governor’s order is an 80% reduction in the number of child abuse cases that have come in."

Denver7 reached out to the governor's office and they say they will not comment on the story.