According to the Brennan Center for Justice, the 30 largest cities in the U.S. saw an average increase in crime rates of .3 percent. However, for Colorado, the increase in the number of murders, rapes, robberies and auto thefts sent the state's crime rate up by 3.4 percent.
Of the 189 homicides in Colorado last year, almost one in three occurred in Denver. That is also an increase of 9.9 percent from the 172 murders in 2015. These numbers are from "2016 Crime in Colorado," a report done by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Many legal experts, police and legislators believe that the legalization of marijuana in the state has contributed to the increase in crime. However, a Lakewood Police Department spokesman said that crime often increases amid subpar economic conditions. Representative Cole Wist, R-Centennial, who is a member of the Hose Judiciary Committee says that marijuana is not the only drug having an impact on crime. He also believes that an increase in illegal prescription drugs and heroin use also impacts crime rates.
Here are some other crime rate statistics for Colorado:
- Rapes increased by 7.2 percent.
- Robberies increased 5.9 percent.
- Aggravated assaults increased 8.3 percent.
- Motor vehicle thefts saw the highest increase of 22 percent.
The Lakewood police spokesman said, "I think we are seeing more and more cars stolen to commit other crimes. There are more and more crimes committed to support drug habits."
The increase in violent crimes is especially troubling. Those who are charged with a felony in Colorado need to work with an experienced defense attorney to build a solid defense strategy.
Source: The Denver Post, "Crime rate in Colorado increases much faster than rest of the country," Kirk Mitchell, July 11, 2017