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Denver CO Crime Rate | 🚓 Is Denver Safe? [Data, Stats, Reports, Map]

Are you visiting Denver or considering moving to Denver, CO? The Mile High City is famous for its outdoor recreation, music scene, breweries, and culture. While some areas of Denver are certainly troubled with crime, particularly downtown neighborhoods, you’ll find most areas of Denver are extremely safe for families, young professionals, singles, retirees, and visitors.

This complete guide to crime in Denver covers crime rates for the city, examines the high-crime areas of Denver you should be aware of, and explores some of the safest Denver neighborhoods to add to your list.

Understanding the Denver Crime Rate

Crime rates are a simple way to compare crime to the national average and between other cities. Crime rates are reported per-capita as the number of total, property, and violent crimes per 100,000 residents. This allows you to compare crime between cities of different densities and populations.

These crime rates are based on the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics (2019). Just keep in mind only certain types of offenses (listed under each category) are used to calculate crime rates as they better reflect your risk of being the victim of crime. Offenses like disorderly conduct, drunk driving, and drug possession are excluded.

In addition to the crime rate, you can also better understand Denver crime statistics by using the Denver crime map provided by the City of Denver. You can use the Denver crime map to sort all types of criminal offenses (even drug and alcohol-related crimes) by neighborhood and compare Denver crime rates by neighborhood.

Crime Rate in Denver vs National Average

To understand the Denver crime rate, you will want to compare it to the national crime rate:

  • 2,580 total crimes/100,000 people
  • 2,362 property crimes/100,000 people
  • 382 violent crimes/100,000 people

Colorado as a state has a crime rate of 2,972 total crimes per 100,000 people.

The Denver crime rate is:

  • 4,402 total crime per 100,000 people
  • 3,672 property crimes per 100,000 people
  • 730 violent crimes per 100,000 people

While the Denver crime rate is higher than the national average, this does not mean Denver is a dangerous city. It’s crucial to understand that crime rates vary wildly by neighborhood with most crime condensed in just 10 city core areas.

Violent Crime in Denver

In 2019, there were 5,262 violent crimes in Denver. This included:

  • 3,259 aggravated assaults
  • 1,211 robberies
  • 717 rapes
  • 63 homicides

You have a 1 in 137 chance of being the victim of violent crime in Denver. The violent crime rate in 2019 was 730 violent crimes/100k people.

The Denver murder rate is 9 homicides per 100,000 people. This is higher than the national average murder rate of 5 homicides per 100k people.

When you look at Denver murders by year, you’ll see an alarming trend that, sadly, was repeated in major cities across the United States. In 2020, homicides in Denver reached the highest number since 1981. This is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic which caused skyrocketing crime rates across the country.

In 2020, there were 95 murders in Denver compared to 63 in 2019. That’s a 51% increase. This was combined with a sharp rise in non-fatal shootings.
However, it’s worth noting that the Denver homicide rate is still lower than many other U.S. cities. In fact, the 2020 murder rates in other U.S. cities, which also rose, are also more shocking. In 2020, Denver had a per-capita homicide rate of 12.9 murders per 100k residents. St. Louis, on the other hand, reached 87 murders per 100k people the same year.

Property Crime in Denver

In 2019, there were 26,464 property crimes in Denver. This included:

  • 17,207 larceny or theft
  • 5,275 car thefts
  • 3,982 burglaries
  • 116 arsons

You have a 1 in 27 chance of being the victim of property crime in Denver.

It is not just violent crime that spiked in Denver in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Denver property crime, particularly car thefts and burglaries, increased dramatically. In some neighborhoods, business burglaries doubled from 2019 to 2020.

Between 2019 and 2020, burglaries increased 23%, car theft increased 61%, theft from vehicles increased 39%, and larceny rose 9%.

While lower than the property crime rates of the early 2000s, the Denver property crime rate has increased every year since 2014.

It’s important to note that property crime rates rose dramatically in some neighborhoods but fell in others:

  • Five Points had 1,841 property crimes in 2020, more than any other Denver neighborhood. This is a crime rate of 97 per 1,000 residents and up 33% from 2019.
  • Central Park had 1,759 property crimes in 2020 but that is down 20% from 2019.
  • In Windsor, there were only 426 property crimes but that’s up 56% from the previous year.
  • Virginia Village had 562 property crimes, up 66% year-over-year.

The neighborhoods with the highest property crime rate per 1,000 residents included:

CBD (212 property crimes/1,000 people)
Civic Center (166)
Overland (127)
Union Station (119)
The lowest property crime rates were found in:
Wellshire (14 property crimes/1,000 people)
Fort Logan (19)
Barnum West (19)
Montbello (20)
Indian Creek (21)
North Park Hill (22)
Gateway – Green Valley Ranch (24)

Dangerous Areas of Denver

Denver’s 10 city core neighborhoods alone account for 25% of all violent crime in the city. When they are combined with the neighborhoods that border Federal Boulevard, they account for 48% of all Denver crime but just 25% of neighborhoods.

According to Denver police reports, the following are the most dangerous neighborhoods in Denver. Offenses per square mile include violent crime, property crime, and other crimes like drug and alcohol offenses and white collar crime in 2020.

Civic Center

  • 5,944 offenses/square mile
  • 6 burglaries monthly on average
  • 32 property crimes monthly on average
  • 4 car thefts monthly on average
  • 2 robberies monthly on average
  • 2 sexual assault monthly on average

Civic Center is where culture, government, and community combine in Denver. The neighborhood is dominated by government buildings, the Denver Art Museum, and Civic Center Park. This is where much crime occurs in the neighborhood.

CBD

  • 5,508 offenses/square mile
  • 8 burglaries monthly on average
  • 75 property crimes monthly on average
  • 11 car thefts monthly on average
  • 4 robberies monthly on average
  • 1 sexual assault monthly on average

Just a few addresses account for most crime in the Central Business District. Three addresses at the 16th St Mall had 115 reported crimes in just three months of 2021 alone. The 16th Street Mall is one of the city’s biggest hotspots for crime.

Union Station

  • 4,517 offenses/square mile
  • 11 burglaries monthly on average
  • 65 property crimes monthly on average
  • 7 car thefts monthly on average
  • 5 robberies monthly on average
  • 1 sexual assault monthly on average

16th Street which runs through the Central Business District continues into Union Station and it’s a common source of crime. Crime often occurs along Colfax Avenue.

Capitol Hill

  • 4,444 offenses/square mile
  • 15 burglaries monthly on average
  • 97 property crimes monthly on average
  • 20 car thefts monthly on average
  • 4 robberies monthly on average
  • 1 sexual assault monthly on average

Capitol Hill is notable for its high rates of car thefts, burglaries, and property crime.

North Capitol Hill

  • 4,249 offenses/square mile
  • 10 burglaries monthly on average
  • 52 property crimes monthly on average
  • 8 car thefts monthly on average
  • 2 robberies monthly on average
  • 1 sexual assault monthly on average

Many of the crimes reported in the area occur at the area’s upscale high rises and condos. In 2020, the Radius Uptown Apartments address had the most reported crimes including car thefts and property crime.

Five Points

  • 2,260 offenses/square mile
  • 21 burglaries monthly on average
  • 140 property crimes monthly on average
  • 28 car thefts monthly on average
  • 4 robberies monthly on average
  • 3 sexual assault monthly on average

Among these neighborhoods, Five Points has the highest number of burglaries, sexual assaults, car thefts, and property crimes. This neighborhood, now undergoing gentrification and rebranded as the River North Arts District (RiNo), has a reputation for its high rate of violent crime.

Safest Neighborhoods in Denver

Nearly half of crime in Denver happens in just a handful of core neighborhoods around downtown. Looking for the safest places to live in Denver, Colorado? Here are some of the top picks.

Green Valley Ranch

Green Valley Ranch is a large master-planned community home to 40,000 people. It’s one of the safest places to live in Denver for families with a beautiful Town Center Park with a pond and skate park plus a golf course, rec center, and frequent community events. There are also two light rail stops to take you downtown. Green Valley Ranch has 58% less crime than Denver as a whole with just 1,875 total crimes per 100,000 people.

Cherry Creek

This charming neighborhood is one of the most expensive places to live in Denver but one of the safest. Located in Southeastern Denver, Cherry Creek has a crime rate 55% lower than the national average and violent crime 62% below the national average.

LoDo

Home to 8,500 people, LoDo has a crime rate 60% below average for the city. This neighborhood is known for Larimer Square, a hip destination with a fun nightlife. LoDo is popular with young professionals and millennials who want the safest place to live near downtown Boston with easy access to public transit and amenities.

Cheesman Park

While best known as the most LGBT-friendly Denver neighborhood, Cheesman Park is also a safe place to live in Denver. This beautiful neighborhood is home to the Denver Botanical Gardens. While it borders downtown neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, it’s an affluent area where most crime is non-violent property crime.

Denver Safety Tips – How to Avoid Crime in Denver

  • The following streets downtown have the most violent crime in Denver: 16th Street Mall, Lawrence Street (between Speer Blvd and 20th St), and Colfax Avenue (between Speer Blvd and York St).
  • When downtown, always try to park your vehicle in a secure parking garage. Car thefts and break-ins are one of the most common types of crime in downtown Denver.
  • Avoid parks in the city core neighborhoods after dark as they sometimes serve as havens for drug- and alcohol-related crime.

Denver Police Department

The Denver Police Department serves the City and County of Denver, Colorado, including Denver International Airport, within the Denver Department of Public Safety. There are six patrol divisions within the DPD, each with up to three sectors. There are then several precincts within each sector, each with one or two officers and a single patrol car assigned.

The Denver Police Department also has several specialized units including Mounted Patrol, the SWAT Team and METRO SWAT, Air Support, and the High Activity Location Observation (HALO) Program. The HALO Program works with local businesses and communities to use surveillance to deter crime and improve safety through faster response time.

Denver Crime Rate FAQ

Is Denver, CO safe?

Denver is largely considered a safe city. However, core city neighborhoods have high crime rates, like other major cities. Be aware of your surroundings downtown at night.

What are the bad areas of Denver?

A handful of urban core cities account for half of all Denver crime including: Civic Center, CBD, Union Station, Capitol Hill, North Capitol Hill, and Five Points.

What is the crime rate in Denver, Colorado?

The crime rate in Denver, CO is 4,402 total crimes per 100k people. This compares to the national crime rate of 2,580 crimes per 100,000 people.

Denver is an exciting place to live where something fun is always happening – especially if you love the outdoors. Are you ready to settle down in Denver after choosing a safe neighborhood with the amenities you’re looking for? Give Wasatch Moving Company a call at 801-770-0765 for a free Denver moving quote. We look forward to helping you enjoy everything that’s waiting for you in the Mile High City!