Denver Study: Areas With Most Calls Have Fewest Cops


Areas of Denver with the most calls for police service and the highest population have the fewest officers per capita patrolling them, a Denver Post study of police deployment shows. A resident living on the city’s northeast side has nearly twice as many officers protecting him as someone living in southwest Denver, even though the southwest area generates four times as many calls for police service. Police say deployment is a complicated process that relies to a certain extent on street knowledge as well as crime data and population. Other factors, such as geography and crime patterns, also come into play. “It’s a much greater issue than simply number of calls and number of officers,” said Steve Cooper, patrol division chief. “There’s a lot more in terms of variables that you have to factor in.”

The newspaper’s review comes as consultants and city officials are analyzing where to locate new police officers and after a debate over the size of the city’s police force. Some cities, such as Los Angeles and Shreveport, La., rely on mathematical formulas to determine how to deploy police, but Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman has decided against using such a formula. “There are formulas,” Whitman said. “But is it easier to do it yourself or to develop a computer program that has to change every 15 minutes when this dynamic place changes?” “During the day, you have a population that comes down to work downtown, and just like any other city, a lot of people are homeless and transient who gravitate to the downtown area,” division chief Cooper said. “Along with those types of populations come a number of different issues that need to be addressed.”


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