A pandemic-driven year fueled an uptick in crime not only in Denver but throughout the country. Last year saw the capital city record the most homicides in nearly 20 years. With 95 killings, a fifteen percent increase, Denver has not seen such deadly activity since 1981.
The violence continues as the new year shows that trend tragically continuing with 43 murders in the first half of 2021, mostly linked to drug deals, up from 39 during the same period the previous year. All but three died by gunfire. Firearm-related deaths are trending upward in the Mile High City, occurring every 36 hours.
This year has also revealed an uptick in domestic violence compared to 2020, accounting for eight murders, including a one-month-old infant. Last year, only five homicides were the result of domestic disputes.
An end in sight?
Even with the end of COVID mandates and mass protests, the killings continue. The Major Cities Chiefs Association announced that 45 out of the 63 large cities in the United States saw more homicides in the first quarter of 2021 than any similar time frame last year.
Not all shootings resulted in deaths in 2020. In Denver, 305 people were shot, a more than 50% increase. So far, 83 people were shot but not murdered in 2021.
An executive director at a violence prevention organization compared Denver’s impressive development to the inner city’s murder rate as “internal bleeding.”
While the world is dealing with a far different “new normal,” Denver officials fear that the growth in dangerous and deadly criminal activity could become the rule and not the exception.