McCann: We need data to drive Colorado’s crime prevention efforts

The Denver Post: Individuals and communities can only thrive when they feel safe from violence. In 2020, our country experienced a nearly 30% rise in murder. Denver and Colorado are not immune to this recent nationwide spike in violent crime although the most recent statistics from the Denver Police Department show a slight decrease in violent crime in the last month.

I believe there are many factors at play: the stress of the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic; loss of jobs and economic security; poverty; mental health issues; substance abuse; decline in accountability; reduction in police arrests; social media; isolation from support services; desensitization to violence; restrictions in the availability of religious, educational, health and social institutions; lack of parenting and support for our young people, and the incredible proliferation and easy access to guns in our community.

As The Denver Post’s Elise Schmelzer reported in July, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation saw a 45% increase in gun sales in 2020 over 2019 and, “more gun sales were approved in 2020 than were recorded in 2000, 2001 and 2002 combined.” Beware of anyone who pontificates that they know what’s causing our violent crime spike but who omits the bright-line connection between the overwhelming prevalence of guns in our community and the fact that people — including our youth — are using guns to commit violent crimes.

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