Updates from April 8th Security Briefing with Chief Paul Pazen, Denver Police Department, and Commander Sanchez, Denver Police Department District 6

April 8, 2020

Chief Paul Pazen and Commander Aaron Sanchez joined the Downtown Denver Partnership on April 8, 2020 to speak with our members about updated procedures and protocols the Denver Police Department (DPD) has implemented in relation to the spread of COVID-19. Some key points from the webinar include:

Chief of Police, Paul Pazen, explained the police department’s COVID-19 response log, beginning on March 2, which documents the first four weeks (Phase 1) of the DPD’s response to the pandemic.

  • Some of the research in this log dates back as early as January 24 to help the DPD anticipate upcoming COVID-19 challenges, and we are currently in Phase 2.
  • DPD was one of the first police departments in the country to start social distance reporting, and has been documenting every action taken in their ongoing log to use as a tool in mapping future protocols.
  • Chief Pazen has been in regular communication with other cities and the U.S. Major Chiefs’ Association about responses and crime trends around the country.
  • While some cities have seen a spike in domestic violence, Denver has seen a decrease.The DPD continues to be proactive in preventing domestic violence, passing out pamphlets on self-managing stress through the Stay-at-Home order. This domestic violence resource page from Harris Family Law can offer more information. 
  • Business sector burglaries continue to be a top priority for DPD. There has been a slight increase in the number of commercial burglaries.
  • The DPD is continuing to use HVPs and mobile HVPs. So far, increasing the patrols and presence of officers has reduced crimes of opportunity. Teams are using statistics that show where crimes are being committed to identify key areas for patrols, as well as planning for alternate vulnerable areas.
  • DPD is working with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and Xcel Energy to support increasing wattage of lights and energy in businesses that are closed as an additional crime deterrent.
  • DPD has been in contact with 46 businesses who want to implement a neighborhood watch.
  • The DPD is asking the Partnership, business associations, and closed businesses to help deter crime by supporting upcoming signage and visual messaging for a business watch. There is documented proof that property crimes decrease when these watches are enacted through use of  window and yard signs. These signs will be available for distribution and pick-up, more information to come.
  • Chief Pazen and the DPD are setting up a protocol to distribute new ‘15-minute tests’ for COVID-19. These tests will be given at a remote location and give priority to officers who may have been exposed to the virus as well as those that are experiencing symptoms. 
  • Chief Pazen recognized the dedication, commitment, and courage of officers in uniform, investigators, and the civilian team. Thank you Denver Police Department!

Commander Aaron Sanchez continued highlighting the most important topics from the last 28 days of the COVID-19 response cycle.

  • Crime rates are down in many categories, and home burglaries have decreased, as predicted.
  • The DPD planned for an increase in break-ins to parked cars and vacant businesses, which has been the case in recent weeks. .
  • The DPD is making an unprecedented number of arrests, which can be attributed to increased HVPs patrolling vulnerable areas. 
  • Additionally, the DPD has activated covert investigators in order to monitor crime when HVPs aren’t present.
  • Patrols are making rounds in  Downtown Denver 24 hours a day, with no predictable pattern or consistent schedule.
  • Regulations for social distancing in parks downtown have been strongly enforced. The DPD continues to monitor busy parks and is ensuring that all individuals  are practicing social distancing, including families and pairs. DPD is also using horse patrols and assigned teams to monitor public groups.
  • The DPD activated a real-time crime center and is reaching out to companies to maximize use of security cameras and to add monitored areas.
  • Bright, high-visibility mobile lights are being moved to different locations by request as an additional crime deterrent.
  • There has been an increased need for traffic officers to monitor speeding and traffic violations on streets that are no longer gridlocked.
  • A top priority for DPD and the City and County of Denver continues to be educating homeless communities on the spread of COVID-19 and how to prevent it.
  • The DPD and City of Denver are advocating for programs and outreach to get homeless and vulnerable individuals to services and healthcare.
  • In order to keep the police force healthy in regard to contacting infected individuals in public, officers are engaging, but from a distance. DPD officers are being selective about making contact to better prevent infection within the force.
  • If you see a crime in progress call 911. To report ‘cold’ crimes, for instance, a break-in that occured yesterday, utilize the non-emergency number 720-913-2000.

Beth Moyski, Vice President of Special Districts for the Downtown Denver Partnership, concluded the briefing with a presentation on the Business Improvement District (BID) Private Security COVID-19 Plan, linked here. For BID members, please call 303-704-5369 for any security issues.

Join us for next week’s safety briefing with Commander Sanchez on April 15 at 9:00 AM. Click here to register.

*How to protect your property during this time

  • Ensure the business is well-lit and eliminate places for criminals to hide near the building.
  • Lock all doors and windows when closed or away from the business. Install double cylinder deadbolts where possible, securing all points of entry, such as gates, fences, roof access, etc.
  • Remove cash from registers and leave the register open at the close of business and secure valuables or merchandise out of sight when closed.
  • Post signs outside your business letting criminals know there isn’t money in the register or safe, and keep track of inventory by marking items or logging serial numbers.
  • Remove any valuables or inventory away from windows.
  • If you are able, increase private security patrols around your facility.
  • Start or join a Business Watch Program to build relationships with neighboring business owners.
  • Install an alarm or surveillance system.
  • Contact your local Denver Police District for a business safety assessment