Illegal camping, motor vehicle theft, driving under the influence offenses slightly up in Glenwood Springs, mid-year statistics show

Glenwood Springs Police officer Sean Tatro prepares to head out for a shift from the police station in downtown Glenwood.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

This summer in Glenwood Springs, crime stayed at the same rate as the prior year with only a few minor fluctuations. 

The Glenwood Springs Police Department aims to publish crime stats on a quarterly basis, and the July report for Glenwood lists the year-to-date, the previous year-to-date, the 2022 crime statistics and “cleared” offenses.

The cleared part of the crime stats on the city website means that the crime was resolved by being “solved,” arrests were made, and officers were able to come to a conclusion on the matter and/or a warrant was issued for the person’s arrest, according to Chief Joseph Deras. 

Rifle Police Sergeant Nicholas Flaten sorts through equipment and supplies in the back of a patrol vehicle before heading out for a shift.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The bigger felony crimes like murder and aggravated assault stayed low with only one of each on the July year-to-date records, and one of each on the previous year-to-date records. 

Stats that went up 

The only three categories that went up noticeable — but still not by much — in the last year-to-date report were illegal camping, motor vehicle theft, alcohol related driving under the influence (DUI) charges.

Year-to-datePrevious YTD2022
Illegal camping1669
DUI (alcohol)10188100
Motor vehicle theft1499

Driving under the influence

DUI were slightly up by 1% from 88 to 101 in the year-to-date report for July. Chief Deras said that there was no particular reason besides maybe one officer who has been cracking down on DUIs.

Officer Felipe Gomez was awarded the 2023 Mother Against Drunk Driving and CDOT Law Enforcement Champion, for his crackdown on impaired drivers.

“He goes out and he’s very proactive in finding those persons,” Deras said. 

Auto theft and burglary

One aspect of the crime statistics was how much less they are “cleared.” In many cases, like with DUIs, they are 100% cleared. But when it comes to theft, the crime is not always solved. 

“For auto theft and burglary there can be a multitude of reasons,” Deras said. “Oftentimes, where auto thefts are concerned, the suspects drove the vehicle and abandoned it – like a joy ride from one place to another.”

Other times a vehicle can be stolen from a friend or a family member, and the victim might decide not to prosecute.

Year-to-datePrev YTD2022Cleared YTD
Motor vehicle theft14993
Theft from motor vehicle3126270
Theft from building37303511

“What is not captured relative to auto theft is a category of recovered stolen autos,” Deras said. “We have a very high success rate in recovering/locating stolen autos – again often abandoned. When we do apprehend parties in stolen vehicles they are arrested.”

Burglaries were harder to determine, Deras said. Since many occur when the victim is not present, it is harder for the police department to distinguish the culprit. 

“There are usually no witnesses and no evidence from which to work to identify the suspect(s),” Deras said in an email. “Residential and commercial areas, we believe, have a much higher clearance rate. Burglaries in general are classified in one lumped area (lockers etc).” 

In case of a mental health issue 

In the case of a mental health crisis, where residents or tourists might be concerned for someone and don’t know how to act, the police department should be called. Deras asked that people do not try to 

“Everyone has constitutional rights to exist in the community,” Deras said. “Our position as law enforcement is really to gain compliance and demonstrate compassion.”

The city has resources when people are in need, and the Glenwood police are happy to connect people with the resources offered throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, like Catholic Charities, Lift Up, Feed My Sheep, Aspen Hope and even possible lodging vouchers or connecting to helpful people like Debbie Wilde. 

In the case of a more serious situation where the person refuses resources but the situation involves the person putting themselves or others in harm’s way, the police will be required to take the person to Valley View Hospital for a possible 72-hour hold.  

There is a gap in resources for mental health, and long-term resources after when people are released from a 72-hour hold, Deras said.

In other cases, the Glenwood police have something they use called a BolaWrap, which wraps a rope around the person from up to 25 feet away. The wrap has a laser sensor for aiming, and it makes a loud gunshot noise to distract the person being apprehended. 

By the time the person realizes they haven’t been shot, the rope is wrapped around them.

Most officers are also trained in critical incident training (CIT) which is a nationally known program that offers 40 hours of training through clinicians and professionals in that area, Deras said. 

His goal is to get all officers trained on it. 

“It trains our officers to deal with people in mental distress,” Deras said. “So hopefully we can eliminate any kind of enforcement action and really hand that off to medical professionals which exceeds our training.”

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