Craig follows statewide trends with upticks in property and violent crimes, police chief says |

Craig follows statewide trends with upticks in property and violent crimes, police chief says

Craig police are seeing increases in crime consistent with trends across the region, while steadily building up the force after experiencing several vacancies earlier this year.

Police Chief Mike Cochran updated City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 13, about the department’s activity for August. 

He noted there have two steep increases. One of those was in crimes against persons, which includes assaults and rose 70% with 46 cases in August, up from 27 cases in July. The other sharp rise came in crimes against property, which include robbery, theft and vandalism, and increased 141% over July with 65 cases in August. 

“That’s a trend that everybody is seeing, all across our area, not to mention the rest of the country,” Cochran said. “Everything else was pretty close to the same.” 

Statewide media agencies have reported that violent crimes in general — which include homicides, aggravated assaults, sex assaults and robberies — have increased as much as 17% from 2019 to 2021. At the same time, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has reported that property crimes are up 20% and auto thefts have risen a staggering 86% between 2019 and 2021. 

The reason for the spike in property and personal crimes, both locally and across the state, hasn’t been pinpointed. Other traffic trends show rises in car crashes and DUI arrests, but those numbers seem to be leveling out now that the influx of summer traffic has died down. 

Craig police activity reports for DUI arrests show five in April, two in May, four in June, five in July and seven in August. Local traffic crashes were down to six in August after peaking at 14 crashes in July. 

“We are staying extremely, extremely busy, as you can see from the numbers,” Cochran said. 

Cochren also reported the department has been down a code enforcement officer for the last few weeks due to medical leave.

During that time, the department has done some animal transfers to Denver, which occupied the remaining code enforcement officer for the duration of the trips. As a result, animal calls were down to 128 from 147 in July. 

The department has made gains filling its open positions with two new officers graduating from the field training program and starting patrolling on their own in early September. There are two new officers who have been delayed for medical reasons or military service, and are still in field training. 

Cochran added that the department has extended an offer to another new graduate from the police academy in Delta. This leaves the department with two openings for officers. Cochran also said they are trying to get some more people ready for the academy in January.

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