State crime stats show siazable drop for the city

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Police chief credits traffic stops for steep drop in crime

By Ben Wiebesiek

Number of reported offenses in Fort Lupton
(results from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations annual reports)

Crime                2010        2011        2012        

  • Murder                0        0        0        
  • Rape                1        1        0
  • Robbery                4        3        1
  • Assault                60        62        36
  • Burglary            33        30        5
  • Larceny/Theft            128        101        45
  • Motor Vehicle Theft        12        11        8
  • Arson                1        1        1
  • Total Offenses        240        209        96   


    FORT LUPTON — With a new police chief at the helm, Fort Lupton saw a dramatic decrease in crime in 2012, according to new numbers released from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations.
    The CBI released its annual report July 1 on crimes reported throughout the state, and the total number of offenses reported by the Fort Lupton Police decreased by 54.1 percent from 209 crimes in 2011 to 96 in 2012.
    Fort Lupton Police Chief Ken Poncelow, who took over the department in February 2011, credited the successes to an aggressive campaign of traffic stops throughout the city.
    “When I started, I told the officers they needed to go out and do more traffic stops, and it worked,” Poncelow said. “In the West, most crimes are connected to a vehicle. If somebody is stealing things or if they have a warrant out, a traffic stop will often catch them.”
    The effect was most pronounced for DUI arrests. In 2011, the FLPD arrested 15 adults for driving under the influence. That number leapt up to 46 arrests, which Poncelow said had the primary benefit of taking drunk drivers off the streets, but also gave the police a secondary advantage in deterring other drunk drivers.
    “By having us out there stopping cars, it creates the perception that the police are everywhere, so people think twice,” Poncelow said.
    The number of reported assaults fell from 62 in 2011 to 36 in 2012, and the number of reported thefts dropped from 101 to 45.
    During this same time period, the number of adults arrested in Fort Lupton increased from 116 in 2011 to 144 in 2012.
    This decrease in crime occurred while the number of reported crimes across the state increased by 2.9 percent according to the CBI report, which compiles the number of reported crimes from throughout the state’s law enforcement agencies. The annual report provides Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Summary statistics on major crime trends, statewide major offense and arrest totals, supplemental reports (arson, hate crime, domestic violence and officers assaulted) and individual law enforcement agency statistics.
    Weld County bucked the statewide trend with a 7.2-percent decrease in reported crimes, including drops in the numbers of reported rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts.
    Weld County saw an increase in adult arrests in 2012 with 1,416 adults arrested compared to 1,369 in 2011. But juvenile arrests dropped from 131 in 2011 to 110 last year.
    At the state level, the 2.9 percent increase in reported crimes was lower once population change was factored in, which lowered the increase to 1.5 percent. The CBI statistics used population forecasts to predict that the Colorado population increased by 69,466 between 2011 and 2012.
    While most crimes increased across the state, led by a 9.2 percent increase in reported number of auto thefts, several crime categories decreased between 2011 and 2012. Instances of aggravated assault decreased by 4 percent and instances of rape decreased by 8.1 percent state-wide.
    In total, fewer people were reported arrested for the crimes committed in 2012. The CBI numbers show a 3.7 percent decrease in arrests, which becomes a 5.0 percent decrease in arrests when state population growth is considered.
Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email bwiebesiek@metrowestnewspapers.com.