(The Center Square) – Violent crimes in Colorado increased last year, according to data released this week by the FBI, while property crimes in the state remained level but still significantly above the national rate.
The data released Monday includes all crimes reported by state and local law enforcement agencies to the bureau’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program via the National Incident-Based Reporting System. In Colorado, 234 of 249 law enforcement agencies voluntarily submitted data for 2022 through NIBRS.
The overall rate of violent crimes – which includes homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – In Colorado increased from a rate of 480.4 per 100,000 residents in 2021 to 492.5, according to the FBI’s data. The national rate for 2022 was 380.7. Aggravated assaults went up from up from a rate of 326 to 350. Colorado’s homicide rate increased from 6.2 to 6.4, which was slightly over the national rate of 6.3.
The overall property crime rate – which includes burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft – mostly stayed level in Colorado at 3,147.6 in 2022, but was above the national rate of 1,954.4 per 100,000 residents. Motor vehicle theft went up in the state from a rate of 711.6 to 785.7, while the national rate was 282.7 last year. Burglaries were down from 420.4 to 395.2.
Mitch Morrissey, a criminal justice fellow with the Colorado-based Common Sense Institute, said auto thefts in particular are “obviously something that has been trending up since 2014 when [the legislature] made auto theft basically a misdemeanor across the board.”
Morrissey, who’s a former district attorney, said the legislature passed Senate Bill 23-097 last session, which “will hopefully help” reduce thefts. The new law eliminates penalties based on a stolen vehicle’s value. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Colorado had the highest auto theft rate among states in both 2020 and 2021.
A CSI report from July estimated crimes committed in Colorado last year cost $27 billion, or $4,623 per person.
Colorado exclusively reported its data through NIBRS beginning in 2013.
“Previously, Crime in Colorado was published using the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Summary Reporting System (SRS) measurement. The difference is that the UCR Summary was just that, a summary. Each criminal incident was simplified to the single most serious offense,” the Colorado Bureau of Investigation website explains. “NIBRS counts every crime that occurred in a given incident. As a result, NIBRS statistics generally provide counts greater than UCR Summary counts. This is not necessarily an indication of more crime, only greater detail regarding the crimes committed.”
Colorado saw increases in crime in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a CBI official told The Center Square.
Nationally, violent crimes decreased 1.7% in 2022, according to the FBI, which accepted submissions from law enforcement agencies through both NIBRS and SRS.
“In 2022, law enforcement agency participation significantly increased, resulting in 14,631 law enforcement agencies, with a population coverage of 91.7% submitting incident reports,” the FBI said in a news release.