Back in 2013, in the wake of the Aurora theater shooting, lawmakers in Colorado passed the first gun control measures in decades in the state. A universal background check bill became law, as did a ban on magazines over 15-rounds. Since then, violent crime has continued to increase by more than 25-percent, and in Aurora, the numbers are even worse.
Fox 31 in Denver reports that since 2014, guns used in the commission of a crime have nearly doubled. The 84-percent increase has led to a new effort by police to target the most violent offenders in the city and to try to “take guns off the street.”
“Protecting the public is really what it comes down to,” said APD Metro Division Chief Terry Brown.
Brown and other department leaders created a violent crimes task force this week, hoping that singling out certain criminals will have a ripple effect in addressing crime in Aurora.
“When you target a violent criminal and you take a violent criminal off the street, you’re impacting several different categories of crimes,” Brown said.
Despite all those new laws on the books, criminals are still obtaining firearms on the black market and through illicit means like burglaries. Brown says a number of firearms have been stolen from vehicles in Aurora, and he’s encouraging gun owners to ensure that their guns aren’t left unsecured in vehicles.
“We need the collaboration with the community,” Brown said. “We can’t address these problems by ourself.”
Brown says Aurora is not the only place dealing with the problem.
“It’s an issue in the entire metro area,” he said.
The issue here isn’t with legal gun owners, but the criminals who are breaking into homes and vehicles to steal firearms. Lawmakers in Colorado are hoping to pass new storage requirements for gun owners, but how about increasing the penalty for being caught in possession of a stolen firearm?
For that matter, how about devoting more resources to arresting burglars. According to the most recent data that I’ve been able to find, in 2015 the national average for “clearing” a burglary case was just 14-percent. In Denver, the clearance rate for burglaries was 14.5-percent. That means someone breaking into a home or a car has a better than 80-percent chance of getting away with it.
If there’s little fear of consequences for crime, it stands to reason that those crimes are going to increase. That’s exactly what’s taking place in Aurora, Colorado at the moment. I applaud Chief Brown for focusing the department’s efforts on targeting the city’s most violent offenders, but it can’t stop there. By all means encourage gun owners to ensure that criminals can’t get easy access to their firearms, but law enforcement also has to crack down on the individuals committing these crimes by devoting more resources to solving these cases.