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Eleven homicides in Pueblo so far in 2024, authorities say it’s an 86% increase from this time last year

Crime in Pueblo
Crime Rate in Pueblo
Posted at 6:11 PM, Apr 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-23 21:12:51-04

PUEBLO, Colo. — Increasing crime trends in Pueblo have the mayor and police department looking to make big changes.

According to the Pueblo Police Department, there have been more homicides in Pueblo so far in 2024 than this time last year. On Tuesday, the Mayor of Pueblo, Heather Graham, the Chief of Pueblo Police, Chris Noeller, and FBI Special Agent Mark Michalek hosted a press conference to address the recent homicides and gun violence in the Pueblo community.

Frustrated by the gun violence, theft, and overall crime rates in her city, Mayor Graham said something needs to be done to stop violent crime. She said so far in 2024, there have been 11 homicides in Pueblo.

“I want to first express my condolences to the family, loved ones, and friends of those who have lost someone they love and care about this year,” Mayor Graham said.

According to the mayor, part one crime, overall, is down this year by 6%.

“Part one crime includes aggravated assault, arson, auto theft, burglary, homicide, robbery, sexual assault, and theft and larceny,” Mayor Graham said.

But she says the homicide rate is up 86%.

“We had six homicides last year by this time, compared to the 11 we have this year, and just because our part one crime says it's down 6% overall, we simply will not tolerate the many unnecessary deaths in our community that the crime in certain categories remains high,” Mayor Graham said.

Chief Noeller said drive-by shootings and other gun-related violent crimes have been a major issue over the past three years. He said the solution is proactive police work.

“In just the past four weeks, our officers have conducted eight search warrants, made five arrests, and I've taken 86 guns off the streets,” Chief Noeller said.

He said the Pueblo Police Department is taking a new approach to directly address violent crime. They are eliminating one patrol division: “watch three,” and relocating those positions to the Criminal Investigations Division. They will add two additional persons crime detectives, one special victim's unit detective, and one property crime detective, and create an impact team.

“This impact team will focus solely on proactive policing directed at gang and gun violence. Their mission is to intercept and disrupt gang and gun violence before it happens by using the laws available to us to contact those criminals before they commit these crimes.” Chief Noeller said

This summer, Pueblo Police will work with the FBI to disrupt gang activity in Pueblo.

“To more effectively address the crime problem by dismantling organizations with the promise of serious prison time and the seizure of assets,” FBI Special Agent Mark Michalek said.

Mayor Graham said she is also working with the police department to make it easier to hire and retain more police officers. Chief Noeller said there are approximately 54 vacancies at Pueblo Police Department.

“These changes in conjunction with the build-out of our real-time crime center, which is scheduled to go live on June 1. The implementation of ShotSpotter installation of advanced license plate readers and other technologies will allow us to focus more directly on violent crime. And with our federal partnerships, we will make an impact,” Chief Noeller said.

The ShotSpotter program is a technology that picks up on loud and impulsive sounds, such as gunshots, and then reviews the noise to confirm whether or not it is gunfire.

In the past two months, police say they have received more than 300 ShotSpotter alerts. They say they have collected shell casings from two alerts that matched casings used in previous crimes.

Police say they are following up on seven other leads from those shell casings.

WATCH: Update on Pueblo Police's ShotSpotter program

He said the police can't do it alone. Mayor Graham is calling on the community to step up and help.

“Know where your children are at night. Know where your teens' friends are, who they're associating with, and who is driving them where they are going or who they are out late at night with even if you think it couldn't be my child or my friend. Please be aware of how your oversight and care of our teams affect all of us in our community,” Mayor Graham said.

Mayor Graham said the majority of violent crime and gang activity involves youth and adolescents in Pueblo. She said keeping children safe will make Pueblo a safer place to live.

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