The Aspen Police Department officers made 38 fewer arrests in 2013 than in 2012, according to full-year crime statistics released on Thursday. In all, 362 people were arrested last year, a 9 percent decrease compared with 398 the previous year.
In fact, the stats show that crime — as well as the number of calls to police that were related to a disturbance — declined in 21 of 35 categories listed in the department’s report.
There were a few notable exceptions to the trend, however.
Police dealt with 87 cases of disorderly conduct, up 24 percent from 70 in 2012. A notation to the report estimates that most of the cases of disorderly conduct occur in the downtown area.
“The Aspen police recognize that the downtown core is not only the center of town, but the center of all reported crimes in Aspen,” the report states. “Disorderly conduct frequently occurs in the downtown core and the Aspen police have identified this as an area for improvement. During 2014, the APD has a goal of contacting at least 90 percent of all businesses in the downtown core with a City of Aspen liquor license to provide crime prevention information or a seminar. This goal has been established in an effort to both reduce crime and improve communication with businesses most likely to be involved in a criminal report in the downtown core.”
In addition, motor vehicle thefts more than doubled, from five in 2012 to 12 in 2013, a 140 percent increase.
But the figures show far fewer instances of fraud, from 175 in 2012 to 108 last year, and also a decrease in drug violations, from 58 to 16.
“Fraud reports were down significantly in 2013 in comparison to 2012 when Aspen experienced a major (credit-debit card) skimming case that increased fraud reports significantly,” the report says. “Drug violations were down significantly after the implementation of Colorado Amendment 64.”
Amendment 64 was a November 2012 statewide referendum that called for marijuana to be regulated in the same manner as alcohol.
Here’s a quick look at how the city fared in many of the report’s categories:
• Total number of calls from the community: 17,325 in 2012, 16,733 in 2013, a 3 percent decrease.
• Number of calls regarding bears: 1,042 in 2012, 54 in 2013.
• Traffic stops: 3,414 in 2012, 3,104 in 2013.
• Traffic citations: 295 in 2012, 243 in 2013.
• Harassment: 114 in 2012, 96 in 2013.
• Domestic violence: 103 in 2012, 73 in 2013.
• Criminal mischief: 90 in 2012, 74 in 2013.
As for the significant decrease in bear calls, it has been widely reported that 2012 was the “summer of the bear” in Aspen. They sought food in the city and surrounding neighborhoods after an extended drought had damaged their natural food supplies in the mountains.