The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University took a preliminary look at crime this year in the country’s 30 largest cities, of which Denver is one.
While still well below historical numbers, the murder rate is up nationwide. If current trends continue, we’ll end 2016 with 13.1 percent more murders than 2015 and 31.5 percent more murders than 2014.
Even one murder is a tragedy for all the people who knew and cared about that person, and it’s a big increase. Almost half of it is concentrated in just three cities: Chicago, Baltimore and Houston.
In Denver, if we continue at the current pace, we’ll end the year with 56 murders, compared to 54 last year. That would be a three percent increase, but when you look at the murder rate per 100,000 residents, it’s basically flat.
During budget hearings earlier this month, Denver Police Chief Robert White attributed most of the city’s modest crime increase to growth in Denver’s population. If you have more people, you’ll have more crime.
The overall crime rate in Denver is projected to increase 3.9 percent by the end of 2016, based on current trends, while the violent crime rate is projected to increase 0.6 percent.
The Brennan Center analysts note that because crime rates remain at historically low levels, small changes in absolute numbers can lead to big percentage increases, making it harder to draw firm conclusions or identify trends. Some cities that saw increases from 2014 to 2015 are likely to see decreases in 2016 and vice versa.
Denver’s murder rate in 2015 was higher than at any point in the previous 10 years.