PUEBLO – Statistics from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) say violent crime has jumped across the Centennial state over the last five years.
Statistics show reports of violent crime are up 25 percent since 2013. However, it should be noted that this figure does not account for population changes since then. The figure simply looks at the number of reports filed in that time frame.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 5.263 million people lived in Colorado in 2013, the 2018 estimate shows that number has risen to approximately 5.607 million people, not close to a 25 percent increase in population.
News 5 showed the figure to Pueblo Police, who said it’s tough to find one reason to explain the rise in violent crime, but Captain Eric Bravo said he thinks drug use might be driving the trend.
Pueblo Police said they used to heroin only in small quantities, but now they tell us it’s coming in by the kilos. Bravo tells us he thinks it’s making more people without a criminal history resort to violence.
“Whether it’s a robbery or people selling drugs that are getting ripped off, people getting shot over drugs,” Bravo said.
Bravo estimates that Pueblo averages about one homicide every month, and he said about 75 percent of those homicides are drug-related.
Pueblo is currently in the process of changing how it treats drug cases. Pueblo Police are participating in the “Law Enforcement Diversion (LEAD) Program.
The program aims to connect people struggling with a drug problem to substance abuse treatment, instead of sending them to jail.
Pueblo Police also tell News 5 that jail overcrowding is a major issue in their community. Recently, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office reported a record jail population in Colorado Springs as well.