In 2020, riots wreaked havoc across the country. In Denver, rioters lit fires around the state capitol and smashed windows like those of the popular sandwich chain Quiznos. As cities were burned and looted, far-left Democrats pushed the dangerous and wildly out-of-touch effort to “defund the police.”
In Colorado, violent crimes in 2020 increased 6.5 percent to a rate of 423 per 100,000 people, versus the national average of 398. This represents the state’s highest level of violent crime in 25 years. We saw a 29 percent increase in homicides, an 18 percent increase in aggravated assaults, and a 51 percent increase in homicides in the Denver metro area.
In 2021, rather than fight the crime wave, Democrats doubled down with policies that made the lives of criminals easier, and the lives of law enforcement harder.
During the 2021 legislative session, despite an outcry of opposition from law enforcement, Colorado Democratic lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 273, a radical bail-reform law that would have eliminated bonds for class 4, 5, and 6 felonies —the tier of lesser felonies.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski warned that the proposed law “completely takes away our discretion in dealing with repeat offenders and unfortunately while these crimes are labeled lower-level, they affect thousands of crime victims.” The House never voted on the bill, and it did not become law.
Though they failed to pass SB21-273, Democrats did pass six other anti-police bills during the 2021 legislative session including;
- House Bill 1090, Criminal Marijauana Offenses
- House Bill 1280, Pre-Trial Detention Reform
- House Bill 1250, Measure to Address Law Enforcement Accountability
- House BIll 1209, Parole Eligibility for Youthful Offenders
- House Bill 1251, Misdemeanor Reform
To make matters worse, the problems have been exacerbated by the The Denver County Court and District Attorney releasing a record number of individuals who were arrested with either low or no bond. The problem has gotten so bad that the Denver Police Chief has turned to federal agents for help. It seems to be that with fewer officers intercepting crime, and no punishment from the state to hold criminals accountable, the moral obligation to follow the law is diminishing.
Clearly, the results of the anti-police rhetoric and subsequent policies were predictable.
In the year that just ended in Colorado, the average monthly crime rate was 15 percent higher than 2019, and nearly 30 percent higher than a decade ago. Violent crime was up 35 percent since 2011, while nationally the increase was only 3 percent. Of the people being arrested for these crimes in Denver, 70 percent had prior arrests, 30 percent had 5 or more, and 54 percent had multiple arrests in the same year.
In 2021 we saw a 38.6 percent increase in motor vehicle theft and a 2,600 percent increase in the theft of catalytic converters since 2019. Colorado leads the nation in the rate of auto thefts and saw the largest increase in property crime rates in the country.
The results of these record high numbers are damaging to communities, individuals, businesses and the state economy. Chris Brown, the vice president of research and policy at The Common Sense Institute, who collected data on arrests and court records, said “rising crime has a high price tag, the research shows: $27 billion in total, an amount equal to 77% of the state budget, which works out to an average cost of $4,762 a year for every Coloradan.”
As if those numbers were not enough, Colorado Democrats want to restrict your right to defend yourself and your family, passing no fewer than six gun-control laws this same session.
Ivory tower leftists like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Cori Bush (D-MO) don’t feel the impact of a crime surge. They can afford to pontificate on the evils of policing while they themselves spend thousands of dollars on security services.
It is everyday Americans that feel the impact. Small businesses, families, and communities are experiencing the devastating effects of anti-police rhetoric and police department budget cuts.
Voters are growing weary of abysmal crime policy.
Anti-police rhetoric and policies are wildly unpopular, and voters are making it known. So far, Democrats have not indicated that they are going to reverse course and stop instigating rising crime. If they don’t, the crime wave will be followed by a red wave in 2022.
Mary Bradfield, of Colorado Springs, represents the 21st District in the Colorado House of Representatives.
Note: The original version of this column erroneously asserted that Senate Bill 273 was passed into law. The bill did pass the Senate, but it did not receive a vote in the House, where it was referred to a committee and postponed indefinitely. The correction was made Jan. 2 at 1:36 p.m.
The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Colorado Sun Opinion on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.