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Denver crime victims favor prevention not punishment, survey says

Author: Joey Bunch - April 11, 2018 - Updated: April 23, 2018

crime victims(Photo by Tony Webster, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

A survey of a Denver-area crime survivors released Tuesday said victims want a greater focus on prevention and support instead of punishment.

In conjunction with the survey, a group called Crime Survivors for Health, Safety and Justice will hold a Day of Healing from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Aurora Strong Resilience Center.

The organization’s aim is to bolster support services for crime victims and promote prevention policies.

The report on the survey, called “Victims Speak: Better Understanding the Needs and Experiences of Crime Survivors,” was commissioned by the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalitio. It was released Tuesday to coincide with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

Last fall Ridder/Braden and Stay Current Strategies surveyed 500 crime victims in the Denver metro area.

Among the findings:

  • 86 percent of survey respondents have experienced at least one symptom commonly associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • 40 percent of Latino and almost 60 percent of black crime victims reported an experience with law enforcement they deemed inappropriate.
  • 83 percent of respondents experienced at least one property crime and 46 percent experienced at least one violent crime.
  • 71 percent of crime survivors reported it to law enforcement, which is much higher than the national average of 54 percent, but only one-in-three Colorado victims of sexual assault said they reported the crime to police.
  • 83 percent had been victimized three or more times.

Read the full report by clicking here.

“The goal of this campaign is to elevate the voices of a diverse group of crime survivors and ensure they are part of the conversation about criminal justice in Colorado,” Juston Cooper, deputy director of the CCJRC, said in a statement.

“We are challenging the common misconception that crime victims support lengthy prison sentences and believe incarceration is the key to crime prevention. In reality, most crime survivors would prefer the state focus more on rehabilitation and less on punishment.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.