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Serious Crime Down 6% in 2019
Happy New Year
We live in the fastest growing city in the United States - we have been designated the number one “boom” town in our country! One might think accelerated growth that brings more people, more houses, more businesses and more of many other things would bring more crime. In 2019, serious crime dropped six percent as compared to 2018.
Enlarging the time frame, in the year 2000 Longmont experienced close to 5,000 serious crimes as defined by the FBI (homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, car break-ins, sexual assaults, arson and theft). In 2019, Longmont had approximately 2,900 serious crimes. Even though our community grew by tens of thousands in that time frame, serious crime dropped dramatically.
What happened? Within police services, our staff has been laser-focused on those who are predisposed to committing crimes and hurting others. Research and data confirms that a very small percentage of people commit most of the crimes in any community - that includes Longmont. We know those who are frequently committing multiple crimes in our community and work closely with our district attorney’s office to ensure those multiple criminal offenders are held accountable. Police have also implemented alternatives to arrest/summons like restorative justice for those we do not believe will be of further danger to our community. In addition, public safety has changed our protocols in how we respond to health issues like addiction and mental illness. Programs like LEAD (Law Enforcement Assistance Diversion) and CORE (Co-Responder) divert people away from the criminal justice system, people who have committed crimes and are struggling with addiction or their mental health. These programs have shown to be effective in reducing calls for service and the need for more public safety resources.
Longmont police have leveraged our many partnerships within the community including those with other city departments, various non-profits, our school district, our business community, faith community, neighborhoods and others to create safety nets for our youth, senior citizens and other vulnerable populations. We’ve worked closely with other city departments to galvanize many neighborhoods that resulted in strengthening the social fabric of those neighborhoods. What we know is that when a neighborhood organizes, comes together and invigorates their personal relationships they will experience considerably less crime. And from my personal experience of having walked over 200 of Longmont’s neighborhoods in the last five years, I can say there is not a single unsafe neighborhood in our community. If any Longmont resident were to walk our community’s neighborhoods, one would find a WELCOME sign at its edge.
Over the last twenty years, gang activity in Longmont has been reduced to virtually zero. Longmont fatal domestic violence cases have diminished dramatically as well. Many organizations and people are responsible for these outcomes. Over 95% of violent crime in our community happens between or amongst people who know or allegedly love each other. There is very little “stranger” crime in our community. When people ask me if it’s safe to live in Longmont, I respond that it depends who you live with - the data supports that conclusion.
Lastly, I want to emphasize how important our entire community is in the prevention of crime and in the detection and apprehension of those who commit crimes. There are untold numbers of stories of neighbors looking out after each other, of people who courageously engage in stopping others from committing crimes, of people who are willing to be front and center in reporting crime as well as becoming a witness, and many people who work side by side with all of us in public safety. In public safety we know the biggest factors in keeping a community safe are secure, stable families, connected neighborhoods, a solid education system, strong economic engines, our individual and collective faith, and the goodness of people who care deeply about the well-being of our entire community. Perhaps the greatness of a community can be determined by the content of its goodness. Well, in so many ways, Longmont is truly a great community!
We in public safety are privileged and honored to serve! Again, we wish for each and every person a healthy and happy new year!
Public Safety Chief