Westside crime down from ‘02, but...
City police still battling meth labs citywide
At first glance, narcotics crime seems to have gotten worse between 2002 and 2003. The number of such drug-related reports
on the Westside rose from 483 in '02 to 596 in '03 - a 23 percent increase, by far the biggest local increase among crime
categories deemed significant by the Westside Pioneer.
However, the numbers Police Department Annual Report don't tell the whole story, according to Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) Lt. Rafael Cintron. While methamphetamine use and production continue to be a serious problem nationwide and are probably the biggest reason for the local narcotics numbers going up so sharply - he pointed out that many of the city's 2003 meth-related police reports were the result of department initiatives to seek out and destroy labs.
"We're one of the few jurisdictions that proactively looks for meth labs, so this causes us to have more narcotics cases," Cintron said. In fact, he said, the impact from the efforts in 2003 can still be felt this year, because fewer meth labs are being busted citywide this year.
Meth manufacturers are often small in scale and use residences to "cook" their product. The toxic chemicals that result can permeate into the very walls, so that homes that used to be labs are such major health risks in many cases that they "almost have to be gutted" before they can be lived in again, Cintron said.
To help prospective homebuyers/renters in that regard, the CSPD website has a map which lists addresses of former labs busted this year. These include six on the Westside.
"Meth labs are a huge danger to our community; we realize that," Cintron said. "That's why we're trying to shut them down."
Other Westside crime numbers dropped from the previous year, according to statistics in the Annual Report. There were 6,054 total number reports for the areas in the city limits south of Garden of the Gods Road, west of I-25, north of Cheyenne Canyon Road/ Lake Avenue and east of Manitou Springs. The year 2002 showed 6,064 reports for that area.
Noticeable reporting drops in significant crime categories occurred in sex offense-force, as well as burglary and forgery; other noticeable increases were in theft-larceny (theft not involving entering a house or business), fraud and vandalism.
The fraud increase, while not as alarming as that in narcotics, is indicative of the nationwide identify-theft problem, Cintron said.
The map on this page lists different geographical sectors by number.
To give some perspective to the crime totals, significant crime types are broken out by sector in the table below. The "all crimes" column counts all crime categories, not just those deemed significant by the Pioneer.
Westside Pioneer Article