(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers is joining two other Colorado mayors in a call for change to address a reported statewide rise in crime.
Following Tuesday’s State of the State address on Jan. 17, a letter signed by Suthers, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman show the elected officials want Colorado legislatures to focus on the rise in auto thefts, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and ghost guns.
Governor Jared Polis has mentioned numerous times that he wants Colorado to be one of the top ten states in the nation for lowest crime rates, but what’s his plan to get Colorado there?
“I wish it was one silver bullet, sometimes politicians will say ‘It’s just this,’ it’s never just that, it’s very comprehensive,” Gov. Polis said.
The Governor knows crime is an issue in the state. Something he is calling on the mayors of Colorado’s three largest cities, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Aurora to tackle.
“What has happened to the Colorado crime rate has not surprised me a bit,” Mayor Suthers said.
Mayor Suthers says Colorado’s legislature continues to reduce sentences, making it easier to get out on bail and released from jail quicker. In response, Mayor Suthers and others are offering Gov. Polis some bipartisan suggestions.
“We presented four things that we think should be relatively uncontroversial,” Mayor Suthers said.
Number one, updating the penalties for motor vehicle theft.
“We are the number one car theft state in the country,” Mayor Suthers said.
Colorado mayors want all car thefts prosecuted as felonies, something the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) supports.
“If we can get that reinstated, that would be outstanding,” said Robert Tornabene with CSPD. “We would see a substantial reduction in the number of people out about on the street who have committed that crime.”
Number two – reinstate the crime of possession of a weapon by a previous offender for car thieves and drug dealers.
“You can’t buy a gun legally if you’ve been convicted of those, why should you not be sanctioned for possessing a weapon,” Mayor Suthers explained.
Number three – address the rise in the use of ghost guns in violent cases. Mayor Suthers wants to see state laws enacting background checks for purchasing unassembled gun parts.
Number four – raise the cap for juvenile detention beds in Colorado. Detention beds for juveniles have drastically reduced since 2003 when there were more than 400, there are now only 215.
Mayor Suthers says Gov. Polis is in support of these suggestions, but it will be up to this year’s legislative session and the community’s support.
“They’ve got to have the public’s support,” Mayor Suthers said.
Colorado Springs is wasting no time calling on community support. Crime Stoppers has organized a town hall in which public safety experts will discuss how Colorado Springs community members can help fight and prevent crime in the community. The free and public event will be at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 24 at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Colorado Springs.