Crime rate in Craig climbs over the summer
Craig police continued to see increased calls and crime reports over the month of July, which officers said could be attributed to an increase of visitors.
Capt. Doug Conrad reported to City Council this month that the overall number of citations have increased compared to last month and the same month last year.
There were 14 vehicle crashes in Craig in July, an increase over the six crashes in June. In July 2021, Craig only had 10 car crashes. Conrad said the increase in collisions could be due to more drivers being on local roads.
“(Interstate 70) has been closed a couple times, and that brings a lot of people who don’t understand rural Colorado and how you’re actually supposed to drive (into Moffat County),” Conrad said. “We did have a big gathering that passed through Craig as well, and some of them were involved in some of that as well.”
Craig has also seen a rise in the amount of criminal activity this summer, particularly relating to drug-related offenses, property crimes and crimes against individuals, including assault.
The Craig Police Department fielded 13 reports of crimes against individuals in June and 27 in July. These rates were up from seven in May. Year to date, the number of crimes reported against persons has doubled from what Craig police reported at this time last year.
There has been some fluctuation in numbers for property crimes, which includes burglary, theft, vandalism and shoplifting. Craig police responded to 22 property crimes in May, 15 in June and 27 in July.
In a follow-up call on Thursday, Aug. 18, Conrad said he can’t be sure without looking at the individual reports whether this year’s Rainbow Family Gathering being held nearby in Adams Park correlated to the increase in crime rates.
But Conrad said that there were a number of factors, including the gathering, that brought more people into the area this summer.
Code enforcement is another area that could be impacted by the increase in visitors to the area. Conrad said in the Aug. 9 council meeting that collaborative agencies learned a lot from handling the Rainbow gathering, including that a lot of animals get left behind.
Conrad said that during a recent collaborative meeting, the U.S. Forest Service reported there are no campsites left at Adams Park.
Animal calls have also seen some fluctuations this summer with 103 in May, 82 in June and 147 in July. The number of animal calls this year has risen steeply with 751 calls year to date, up from 111 this time last year.
Police have said that the increased animal complaints may be a result of post-pandemic changes. Now that many people are going back to work in offices full time, pets are being left home a lot longer than they may have been previously.
There has been a steady increase in the number of arrests with 40 adults arrested in June and 49 in July, which Conrad said may be the result of the courts opening back up and being able to process more cases.
Though most other areas have seen an increase, Craig police reported there were no juvenile arrests in either June or July, which decreased from eight juvenile arrests during the same period last year.
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