Denver has seen a 50% increase in shootings and killings this year compared to last year, and the Denver Police Department is asking for the community’s help in preventing more bloodshed.
DPD announced Thursday a new social media campaign, called “Lock Out Crime,” dedicated to reducing gun violence, which includes five short videos that promote safe firearm storage to prevent gun theft, accidental shootings and gun-related crime.
“The Denver Police Department respects the rights of individuals to legally possess firearms, but along with that comes a responsibility to ensure those deadly weapons do not end up in the wrong hands or in the hands of our youth,” Paul Pazen, Denver’s police chief, said in a statement. “By safeguarding and preventing unauthorized access and use of your guns, you can potentially save lives – it’s that simple.”
The DPD is also upping its outreach efforts in neighborhoods most affected by gun violence, including those in northeast and southwest Denver.
“DPD has a team with the Gang Unit that identifies and connects with families who may have kids on the fringe of becoming gang members,” a spokesman from the DPD said Thursday. “They work with them to connect them with resources and options.”
In the first six months of this year, 327 guns were reported stolen, DPD data shows, representing a nearly 27% increase in gun thefts compared to the three-year average. Many of those guns were stolen by juveniles.
Between Jan. 1 and July 4, DPD reported 94 juvenile suspects/arrestees of gun-related crimes and 119 juvenile victims of gun-related crimes.
At least 33 people have died this year from gun violence, according to DPD data.
Denver police are encouraging the community to share its public service announcement videos, which the department will be rolling out on Twitter and Facebook.
“This call to action campaign is part of DPD’s comprehensive gun-related crime reduction strategy, which includes: in-person outreach by officers; a focus on recovering illegal firearms and holding offenders accountable; gunshot detection technology; the DPD/ATF Crime Gun Intelligence Center; and participation on the R.A.V.E.N (Regional Anti-Violence Network) taskforce,” DPD said in a statement.