District 6 encompasses neighborhoods from Union Station downtown to the CBD, Five Points, Cap Hill, North Cap Hill, Uptown, City Park West and Cheeseman.
This month’s (June 2020) DPD District 6 community meeting was a remote meeting, hosted on Microsoft Teams. There were around twenty community members present, in addition to officers Teresa Gillian and Austen Munson, and Sgt. David Albi. (Sorry– I didn’t catch the other names, but probably those cc’d on the e-mail from DPD: Lts Kenneth Chavez and Tony Gallawa). City Councilman Chris Hinds was among community attendees.
The usual monthly crime report was given, a slide show of neighborhoods in District 6. April through end-of-May stats include the following, which reflect both COVID-19 impacts (e.g. domestic violence rates related possibly to the stay-at-home order) and protests/riots. (“Protests” here refers to lawful gathering; “riots” to property damage and violence).
City overview — Violent crime was down 2.4%. Property crimes were up 11.8%. Overall crime was down .5%. Domestic violence calls were up 1.7%. Traffic accidents were down 4.1%.
Crime Notes (by neighborhood in the district)
Union Station– break-ins were up. Two assaults were related to protest activity.
CBD — Crimes related to the protests caused some spikes, especially in property and “public & other” crimes (trespassing, drugs, other). There has been an increase in motor vehicle thefts (two Jeeps were stolen, only one recovered).
North Cap Hill — Violent crime was up 150%, related to the protests. Property crimes up 41% and “public and other” crime up 100%.
Cap Hill — Violent crime up 145%. Property crime up 20%… and “public and other” crime was up 573%. Officer Munson said that “when we see this stuff all over the news, we see an increase in these incidents.”
City Park West: Violenc crime was up 54%, mostly domestic violence related to COVID-19 stay-at-home. Property crimes were down 19%. “Public and other” crimes were up 69%.
Community members are advised that garages are targeted and are related to bike thefts. The takeaway is to always keep garage doors closed when not actually present in the garage– and to register bikes and make sure they are locked up. We are also advised to keep valuables out of vehicles or at least locked and out of sight. Honda, Subarus and Ford F150s most need clubs (owners can contact the PD for a free club).
Protest/policing discussion notes*
The floor was open to questions; community members were invited to talk about the protests, and police officers acknowledged collective trauma. Three officers were injured when a car mowed them down (two had broken legs). They are on the mend. Neighborhoods were vandalized, stores and public property defaced and civilians hurt.
Councilman Hinds said that he was at the protests and there was a huge difference between (peaceful) daytime protests and more rowdy or violent nighttime protest-related activity that became out of control and riotous. He hopes to understand all stories and to listen to all perspectives.
Denver is “not Minneapolis,” Sgt. Albi said. Police view their roles in the community as supportive. A strong anti-bias policing policy has been in effect here for a long time. All officers in Denver undergo 40 hours of Back to Basics training in addition to ongoing other trainings. Since long before the George Floyd protests, Denver police have been aware of issues in race and policing. A ban on chokeholds were already underway (the protests accelerated implementation) and officers must report having intentionally aimed a firearm at someone. There will be better data tracking on vehicle stops.
Police regularly and often see protests. They are there to protect the protesters, the protestors’ right to protest– and to keep things peaceful. Most protests that happen, no one ever hears about, but they are frequent around the city. “Things” (on the first night of the Floyd protests) “went south very fast.” Councilman Hinds confirmed this observation; he had spoken with peace officers who had served the community for two decades and had never seen anything like this.
Police and community members often used the word “unprecedented” during this conversation. Several community members thanked the police for their continued service to the community. The meeting concluded.
* So, I listen as best I can and take notes, but am not a journalist. If you see an error in my reporting, just contact me and I’ll do my best to review your concerns and to get the facts. – Janna Goodwin, CPW board member