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Fighting crime together: Colorado Springs criminal justice leaders to host town hall tonight
Gazette - 1/24/2023
Jan. 24—Crime Stoppers has organized a town hall in which public safety experts will discuss how Colorado Springs citizens can help fight and prevent crime in the community.
The free and public event will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 1775 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd. It will also be livestreamed at gazette.com.
Panelists include Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez, El Paso County Sheriff Joe Roybal, District Attorney Michael Allen, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs criminology professor Jon Caudill and School District 11 Superintendent Michael Gaal. The Gazette is co-sponsoring the event.
Crime Stoppers, the primary sponsor, offers an anonymous platform for citizens to report information about crimes or suspects.
"That's all based on the (principle) that someone other than the criminal has information about a crime that's been committed," Crime Stoppers chairman Don Addy said. "This is really an extension of our mission, and that is to help give people tips and ideas on how they can help."
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The town hall is an effort to reduce crime levels in the community following a local uptick in recent years. Colorado Springs saw a record number of homicides last year with 54, marking the third straight year of record highs. Police investigated 44 homicides in 2021 and 39 homicides in 2020.
Colorado Springs' violent crime rate rose 35% between 2015 and 2020 as the national rate remained steady, according to data released in September by Pikes Peak United Way. Hate crimes also saw a sharp increase during that time, and as property crime rates have decreased by a fifth nationwide, such crimes have held steady in Colorado Springs.
Panelists will discuss how they fight crime in their respective roles and how the community can assist them. Topics will include causes of crime, the city's high recidivism rate and how the school system works to keep kids on the right path, among other subjects. Citizens can submit additional questions to the panel at gazette.com/crime.
"Crimes oftentimes are crimes of opportunity. A person is on drugs, and they need money to feed their habit. They'll walk by a vehicle that has the keys in the ignition and is unlocked, and they'll get in and steal it. Well, that doesn't have to happen," Addy said. "These are the kinds of things that we're trying to share with the community. You can help by just taking care of your things and taking care of yourself."
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