Although Douglas County residents experience less violent crime than nearby counties, they worry about unsavory activity creeping into their neighborhoods.
According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation data, Douglas County’s violent crime rate is lower than the rates in El Paso and Arapahoe counties.
But a survey conducted this winter by the Douglas County Sheriff’s offices shows residents fear crime will spill over the county line.
The study, conducted between Jan. 26-Feb. 13, gathered insights from 1,453 Douglas County residents about public safety matters. In an open-ended question about violence, crime and overall safety in Douglas County, 167 residents offered opinions.
“While several respondents noted that Douglas County is quite safe,” the survey stated, “some pointed to increasing crime in nearby cities and counties as a warning of what could happen more locally.”
Neighboring counties, such as Arapahoe and El Paso, have more violent crime. According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, violent crime includes murder, non-consensual sex offenses, aggravated assault and robbery (taking items with the threat of violence or retribution while burglary is taking items without the threat of violence).
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office reported 652 violent crimes in 2021, and the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office reported 229 violent crime cases in 2021, according to Colorado Crime Statistics, published by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reported 460 violent crime cases in 2021.
Over half of respondents to the Douglas County survey (53%) considered violence a minor problem in the county, and an additional 29% regarded it as a moderate or major problem. Additionally, respondents said:
- Sexual assault is a minor problem (51% of responses); 21% answered it is not a problem.
- Robbery, mugging and pickpocketing is a minor problem (49%); 19% said it is a moderate or major problem.
According to the statistical summary of 2020 crime data provided by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, there were six murders in 2020 compared to two in 2019. However, charges for two of the 2020 cases should be filed in 2021 due to an ongoing investigation.
The county reported weapons offenses increased 16%, and aggravated assaults increased 8% during 2020. Additionally, there were 18 robberies in 2020 compared to 22 in 2019.
The 2021 crime data statistical survey has not been published.