PUEBLO — Violent crime is on the rise in Colorado and Pueblo. From 2020 to 2021 violent crime has risen 118 percent, and in Pueblo 119 percent, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. On Friday, the Attorney General of Colorado met with the Judicial District Attorney of Pueblo and the US Attorney of the District of Colorado to discuss why this is happening and what they can do to increase public safety.

“That’s a piece of why I think there’s been a rise in crime throughout the state,” said Jeff Chostner, 10th Judicial District Attorney. “But, here in Pueblo… we need more help from our friends in the legislature to make sure we do things that help prosecution and really translate into public safety.”

US Attorney for Colorado, Cole Finega, said on a federal level, they can move quicker on charging felons caught with guns. But, as of now, that is not the case in Colorado.

Police lights. (Getty Images)

“Under the state law, because of some changes that were made a couple of years ago, it’s been harder to charge felons who are caught with weapons,” Finegan said.

One issue comes down to a need for more DAs to be able to prosecute more effectively in different jurisdictions. But, until then, it’s been a challenge.

“We’re just trying to be creative in pooling our resources to go after felons with guns,” Finegan said.

Law enforcement staffing is also a problem in Pueblo.

“The reality is when you have fewer police officers, fewer sheriff’s officers, you’re in more of a difficult situation to protect public safety,” said Colorado Attorney General, Phil Weiser.

Weiser said he brought a bill to legislature to allocate five million dollars to support retention and recruitment efforts, as well as evaluating and working through the law enforcement training curriculum.

“We’ll be back here to get the benefit of law enforcement expertise, community expertise and those in educational institutions, because one of the ways we build better public safety systems is we help train police to be more effective,” Weiser said.

Bond and parole criteria was another issue addressed during the discussion since repeat offenders have been released in Pueblo, only to re-violate, so the district attorney said he would like to see that reviewed in the legislature next year and have them tighten bond criteria to reduce the risk of repeat offenders.