District 5’s new Lieutenant, Kevin Hines, sent out a communication last month with some stunning figures about property crime in Stapleton. “In the 28 days (prior to July 5), we’ve experienced a 286% increase in burglaries within the Stapleton neighborhood . . . and a 133% year-to-date increase in these crimes.” Since that time, there has been some improvement with increased patrols and awareness. But, compared to prior years, these property crimes are up.
The chart below shows property crimes per 1,000 population in six Northeast Denver neighborhoods from January to June in 2017 and how it changed in 2018.
So, although the estimated population of Stapleton is much higher than neighboring communities, the police crime data also show the rate of property crime per capita is higher and rising since the same period last year.
Of note, however, is that the property crime category includes thefts from commercial stores—and the Quebec Square Wal-Mart and The Shops at Northfield Stapleton account for significant shares of the Stapleton figures. According to recent news reports, Wal-Mart pays the City of Denver $285,000 annually under a contract to provide enhanced police presence at that location, which has led to a reduction in crime there.
But burglaries and thefts from motor vehicles in Stapleton are up sharply from the same six-month period a year before, as seen in the above right chart, which does not include shoplifting crimes. Those are categorized as larceny. While burglaries can include crimes to businesses and commercial properties, in the Stapleton area most of the burglaries are residential crimes, according to Lt. Hines.
Burglaries are also up in North Park Hill, although significantly down in East Colfax, Lowry and South Park Hill over the same period.
Auto thefts are on the rise across all neighborhoods.
Many burglaries in the community occur when residents leave their garage doors or back gates open, presenting criminals with opportunities. “Our analysis of these burglaries indicates that they are overwhelmingly occurring to homes that have been left unsecured (most often due to open garage doors).
A similar trend has also been noted when examining the occurrences of thefts from vehicles (which are also up for the year),” wrote Lt. Hines. “The good news is that these crimes are among the easiest to prevent.” A recent police patrol of the Stapleton neighborhood found 53 garage doors open in a four-hour period of time, according to Hines.