Upper Downtown is Getting Safer All The Time

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that COVID had a significant impact on just about every aspect of our lives.  We no longer wear masks everywhere we go, and we no longer look at others as potential sources of disease and possibly our own demise, but many aspects of our lives have taken time to return to normal.  Crime in Upper Downtown is one of them.

Recently, Rob spent some time pulling data from Denver’s Performance and Transparency website; Among many other useful tools is the Overall Crime Dashboard.  He  was able to pull data for the Central Business District which is the former name for Upper Downtown.  The area that the data pertained is almost a perfect replica of UpDoNA’s footprint, so it applies directly to UpDoNA members.  Rob was able to get data on several types of crime, starting from 2020 which was the very beginning of the pandemic, to the end of 2023.  Being the engineer and life-long lover of spreadsheets (yes, Rob knows that sounds weird), he loaded it all into Excel and examined the data.  We found it quite interesting and think you will, too.


Both Property Crime and Violent Crime rose significantly during COVID and peaked in June of 2021.  Since then, both categories of crime have fallen to values lower than at the start of the COVID lockdownAuto theft, while not yet at pre-COVID levels, has improved significantly.  Drugs and Alcohol dealing and use crimes are a concern to us all in Upper Downtown.  These crimes have risen significantly from pre-COVID levels.  Surprisingly, despite all we’re  reading about drugs, drug/alcohol crimes have also fallen far below their peak values.

Upper Downtown is continuing to improve and is returning to a wonderful place to live, work and play. We’re  proud to say that UpDoNA has played a role in improving our neighborhood.

More detailed information:

Property Crime and Violent Crime Rose During COVID.

Beginning in April of 2020, Property Crime began to rise from 53 incidents per month in April of 2020 (coincident with the start of the lockdown) rising to a peak of 142 incidents in June of 2021, an increase of 167%.  Over almost the same period, Violent Crime rose from 13 incidents to 38 incidents, an increase of 192%.

Property Crime and Violent Crime has decreased since the high point

Due to a variety of factors, both types of crime have fallen – a lot.  As of the end of 2023, Property Crime fell from 142 incidents to 51 incidents, a value slightly lower than the low point back in 2020.  Similarly, Violent Crime fell from 38 incidents to 11 in November of 2023, again lower than in April of 2020.

Auto Theft:

You may have heard that at one time, Colorado had a higher rate of Auto Theft than every other state in the Union.  Upper Downtown did not escape that problem.  That crime followed a trend similar to property crime in general, rising from a low of 1 incident in March of 2020 to peak values of 30 to 32 during the period of July 2021 to October 2022.  It has fallen since then and stood at 12 incidents at the end of 2023.  That is not at pre-COVID levels but is a significant improvement.


Drug use and possession crimes averaged 18 incidents per year in 2019 before anyone had even heard of COVID.  Interestingly, that rate dropped to near-zero during the lockdown and was fairly steady during COVID.  It only started to rise significantly in Upper Downtown in March of 2022 peaking at 61 incidents in February of 2023.  When I started to look at the data, I had expected that those numbers would continue to rise unabated, but that’s not what the data showed.  That rate has fallen to 22 incidents in December of 2023, and is again almost at pre-COVID levels.

Final thoughts:

I have not attempted to compare these numbers to other major US cities or Denver’s suburbs, but I’m willing to bet that we are no worse than many, and likely better than most.  Denver is coming back!

Photo Attribution: Rob Squire

Previous UpDoNA Cares – March 2024

UpDoNA is a City Registered Neighborhood Organization representing the community of Denver’s Upper Downtown.

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