Denver is experiencing an alarming rise in violent crimes. And Denver’s young people are caught in the crossfire with at least nine young people dying from gun violence this year.
Why am I addressing this issue in a consumer newsletter? It’s simple: you may be able to help lower these numbers.
It begins with where young people get guns. The Denver Police Department (DPD) says that theft is the number one way young people get their hands on guns. 327 guns were reported stolen in Denver during the first six months of 2020, an increase of more than 25% compared to the three-year average.
Once these guns get on the street, there is every opportunity for young people to acquire them. DPD stated that through July 4th, 94 juveniles suspects were arrested in gun-related crimes and 119 juveniles were victims of gun-related crimes.
According to Denver Health, “…an average of 700 young people less than 25 years of age are directly affected by gun violence in Denver annually.” 
COVID-19 has contributed to an economic downturn resulting in more and more people losing their homes, jobs and becoming food insecure. As these issues increase so do emotions leaving some to resort to theft and violence.
Mayor Hancock and Denver Police Chief Pazen heard from young members of the City’s Youth Violence Task Force that they have a desperate need to feel safe. One teenager on the task force said, “A lot of young people go out and get weapons or guns because they feel like that’s the only way to protect themselves. If they have a gun, then you need one, too,” she said. “You gotta protect yourself and your people.”
In April’s edition of this newsletter, we asked that you become more diligent about locking your cars as ‘smash and grab’ crimes were escalating. It was then that Denver Police Department launched a video campaign promoting safe firearm storage because, as they say, many of the guns in recent incidents were stolen from unlocked cars.
Each of us must do our part to help reduce opportunity theft. Please lock your cars every time you leave your vehicle. If you have guns in your home ensure they are locked away. If you carry a gun in your vehicle, stow the gun in your glove box and make sure to lock your car when unattended.
As always, be safe.Beth
The following articles provided the basis for the information in this newsletter.
The Denver PostDenver Police: Gun thefts, shootings on the rise in 2020, Wilson Beese (9NEWS), July 16, 2020
Channel 4 Online News‘Be Responsible, Secure Your Weapon’: 1,200 Gun Locks To Be Handed Out By Dillon Thomas 02/01/2020