Jeffco cities saw 2020 crime numbers rise

Lakewood and Wheat Ridge crime rose in several categories despite the pandemic

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 4/6/21

Lakewood saw an increase in violent crime last year, with numbers climbing from 911 in 2019, to 950 in 2020, according to a state crime tracking website funded by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention …

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Jeffco cities saw 2020 crime numbers rise

Lakewood and Wheat Ridge crime rose in several categories despite the pandemic

Posted

Lakewood saw an increase in violent crime last year, with numbers climbing from 911 in 2019, to 950 in 2020, according to a state crime tracking website funded by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority.

Violent Crime consists of Murder, Non-Consensual Sex Offenses, Aggravated Assault and Robbery.

Auto thefts also increased dramatically, from a reported 765 in 2019, to 1209 in 2020. In fact, the city’s 2020 auto theft numbers were higher than they’ve been for at least the last five years. The percentage of stolen vehicles recovered in 2020 is approximately 48% compared to a 74% recovery rate in 2019. Attempted motor vehicle thefts were also up over the previous year. According to the statistics, more cars were stolen between the hours of 6- 9 p.m. than at any other time of day.

Robbery, burglary, larceny (theft) and fraud cases were on the rise in every category, with combined totals shooting up from 7765 in 2019, to 8206 in 2020.

A bit of good news came with the slight decline in DUI cases which decreased from 407 in 2019, to 378 in 2020. Although, with bars and in-house dining shut down for several months of the year, one is left to draw their own conclusion as to the weight of these numbers.

Drug and narcotics violations, defined as “The unlawful cultivation, manufacture, distribution, sale, purchase, use, possession, transportation, or importation of any controlled drug or narcotic substance,” also decreased. In 2020, there were 691 drug and narcotics violations, compared to 1001 in 2019. According to the state’s numbers, people in the 25-34 age range were associated with the largest number of drug and narcotics violations, with the 35-44 range coming in at the next highest rate.

There were 3 hate crime cases in Lakewood in 2019.

In 2020, the number of hate crime cases doubled, to 6.

A hate crime is defined on the site as a “traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

Wheat Ridge

Crime numbers were up in neighboring Wheat Ridge as well, with some percentage increases outpacing Lakewood.

Wheat Ridge violent crime cases went from 114 in 2019, to 187 in 2020. Auto thefts skyrocketed from 163 in 2019, to 340 in 2020. Property crimes were also up with a combined total of 1650 in 2020, up from 1045 in 2019.

Unlike Lakewood, Wheat Ridge DUI cases went up to 81 in 2020, from 59 in 2019, while drug and narcotics violations increased by a little more than 9%.

Crime numbers were up in neighboring Wheat Ridge across the board, with some category percentage increases outpacing Lakewood.

Wheat Ridge violent crime cases went from 114 in 2019, to 187 in 2020. Auto thefts skyrocketed from 163 in 2019, to 340 in 2020. Property crimes were also up with a combined total of 1650 in 2020, up from 1045 in 2019.

Unlike Lakewood, Wheat Ridge DUI cases went up to 81 in 2020, from 59 in 2019.

Drug and narcotics violations were up by a little more than 9%.

Unincorporated Jeffco

The rise in some crimes did not happen across the whole county however.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, serving the unincorporated portions of the county, saw crime numbers in 2020 go down in every category.

Violent crime case numbers in the county decreased from 325 in 2019, to 247 in 2020. Auto thefts went down to 312, compared to 325 in 2019. Property crime fell dramatically, from 3685 in 2019, to 2568 in 2020. DUI and drug / narcotics violations were on the decline as well, with DUI cases dropping a whopping 51%, from 291 in 2019, to 142 in 2020. Drug and narcotics cases in the county were down by even more, with 137 reported in 2020, compared to 2019’s 384 cases. Hate crimes in Jeffco fell from 11 in 2019, to 7 in 2020.

For context, if you’re concerned about rates in your city rising, look to the east.

In 2019, the City of Denver recorded 67 murders. In 2020, that number, like in many large cities, grew by a lot —in this case, to 97. In Aurora, 2020 saw 39 murders.

By comparison, murders in Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and Jefferson County combined for 2020 added up to only 10. If you throw in Arvada, the combined total was 16.

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