When dealing with social issues, elected officials should rely on facts to make policy decisions. Too often, we see decisions based on emotionally based misinformation and “social justice” bias. Crime rates across the US, and Colorado especially, are rampant. Whom does crime affect and how do we measure that effect?  For most of us, crimes affect the other guy, but costs affect us all. The General Accounting Office (GAO) published a 2017 study to codify the cost of crime in both tangible and the intangible in real dollar estimates. By standardizing causes/effects, policy makers can quantify something that was considered unquantifiable. It doesn’t matter if the figures can be considered accurate if they are all based on the same quantifying inputs and outputs. Confusing? Consider that they grade everything on the same scale and every number is an estimate. Why do these calculations matter? It provides a standardized score card. The problem facing America is social justice warriors’ policies; increased crime rates can be traced back to them. Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles are in the news every day for murders and mayhem. Colorado ranks first in the nation for the increase in property crime (2011-2020), with the highest rate of car theft in the nation.  Colorado’s murder rate is more than double the 2011 rate, and violent crime was up 35% over 2011. The US rate was up only 3%. Colorado rape was up 9% and assault up 40%.  Colorado is in a crisis, by any measure, and the numbers are likely understated.

Colorado’s population grew substantially over the last decade, and more people naturally increases crime rates, as some of them are prone to criminal activity. In 2018, Colorado filed 54,000 felony cases.  Over the past several years, the cost of doing a crime has been significantly reduced. Once caught and charged, Denver releases 100’s on a personal recognizance bond, which costs them $1.00. In 2020 and 2021, $1 PR bonds were used 538 and 562 times respectively. In the years between 2017 and 2019 there were TWO. PR releases are offered for up to Class 2 felonies, such as 2nd degree murder, kidnapping, and attempted Class 1 felonies. These are the kinds of folks being let back out on the streets. Since 2010, Colorado prison population declined by nearly 7,700 inmates (33%). During the same time crime statistics rose by more than 130,000 crimes per year (47%).  Persons convicted and released back into society put Colorado in the top 5 for recidivism. That is, our rate reflects that a full 50% of those who went through the penal system are back again committing new crimes. So much for changing behavior and commitment to social justice to gain equity for societal wrongs. The Colorado District Attorneys Council head Tom Raynes said, ”That is an extremely lethal recidivism rate. We are doing something wrong, whether it’s in sentencing, supervision, the lack of treatment: it’s probably all the above. It certainly merits a deeper dive.” Aurora’s Second Chance release program is supported by Colorado’s Attorney General Phil Weiser. The Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition proposed reducing the felony rate by reducing felony drug charges to a misdemeanor. Governor Polis is on record for reducing the State prison population by granting a faster parole opportunity. All this reform is aimed at better statistics and more social justice virtue signaling. Remember, 50 percent of them go on to do more crime! To deflect rising crime statistics, they’re now redefining crime rates as a gun issue.

The message is not about dollar cost, though it is an avoidable financial drain on society. The critical cost of crime is the pain and suffering and the loss of valuable property, stealing the livelihood and future of innocent victims. Tangible costs are easy to see (property, prisons, courts, police, insurance). Intangible factors are not transparent. They looked at avoidance of persons/places, pain and suffering, psychological issues. They considered who paid the costs: victims, victim families, society, offender, etc. In Colorado, the 2021 estimated cost of crime was $31B or $5,340 per Coloradoan. This is up almost 13% from 2020. Putting a dollar figure on crime doesn’t mitigate the suffering created, but it does shine a light on policy decisions made by our elected officials.  In the Commitment to Colorado, published last year, the Colorado Republican Party formally committed to put a priority on public safety in Colorado. In response, Colorado Democrats relaxed gun restrictions for convicted felons, fentanyl possession, decreased funding to State Patrol (2020/2021) and more, all the while releasing more jail inmates. Maybe the new Denver metro area code should be 911.  Now in an election year, Democrats are singing a new tune, trying to look tough on crime.  Remember this in November when you vote. Sources: CoPublicRadio, Common Sense Institute, Government Accounting Office.

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