Steamboat police examine local crime rate |

Steamboat police examine local crime rate

— The Steamboat Springs Police Department is taking a close look at 2015 crime statistics recently released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“The numbers are never going to be all zeros,” Police Chief Cory Christensen said. “We continue to strive to make Steamboat Springs the safest place in the nation.”

Every year, the FBI collects and publishes data from departments throughout the country. The FBI warns departments to use caution when comparing their numbers to those of other communities, because they provide no insight into the many variables that mold crime in a particular town.

Christensen said he sent the statistics to supervisors in order to get feedback.

After declining for two years, the nationwide violent crime rate increased by 3.9 percent in 2015, while property crimes dropped 3.1 percent. It is the 13th consecutive year the property crime rate has decreased.

In Steamboat, crime remained relatively the same in 2015 as compared to 2014. Among the 2015 stats, there were 28 violent crimes, 21 aggravated assaults and 295 property crimes.

“The biggest thing to remember, looking at our numbers, is they are really small,” Christensen said.

There were seven reported rapes in 2015. In the past 10 years, the numbers of rapes each year has been between two and eight.

Christensen said he believes many more instances of rape have gone unreported.

“I cannot begin to understand the challenge it is to report that crime,” Christensen said.

He said he wants to develop a strategy to encourage more rape victims to come forward, so their perpetrators can be brought to justice.

Christensen said it is not surprising that the 2015 numbers are similar to 2014.

He said dramatic changes in crime rates are often connected to changing communities and economies.

That point becomes apparent when looking at the numbers from 2006, when there were 60 aggravated assaults, compared to 2014, when there were 20.

While Christensen thinks the 2016 numbers will be even better, police will carefully be watching the rates of theft, burglary and property crimes. Like many communities, Christensen feels Steamboat does have a drug problem, and the fallout can lead to crime as users become desperate to support their addictions.

“That addiction is driving them, and they’re driven to crime,” Christensen said.

Christensen recalled that, earlier this year, an opiate addict was connected to more than a dozen crimes, including burglaries in which medications were stolen from homes.

“All to feed his addiction,” Christensen said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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