Denver mayor says recent attacks shouldn't deter downtown visitors

DENVER - In an interview late Thursday with 7NEWS, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said he doesn't want anyone to be leery about heading to downtown Denver -- despite the headline-capturing attacks.

Police say there were at least three attacks that occurred between 1:30 a.m. and 2:15 a.m. on New Year's Eve. One of the attacks happened at 17th and Blake streets. Two other assaults happened near the intersections of 20th and Larimer streets; and 20th and Market streets.

Additionally, Denver Police reported two downtown-area attacks on Jan. 7. The first was at 8:35 a.m., when a man was robbed of his wallet in the 1400 block of California St. by a black male. The other was at 9:52 p.m. in the alleyway of Stout and California streets, where a victim was knocked down and robbed by two black males.

"These very unfortunate criminal acts, should not and will not define downtown Denver," said Hancock in the interview with 7NEWS reporter Marc Stewart.  "It's where jobs and a lot of people coming to live.  And they wouldn't be doing that if they felt it wasn't a safe place to be to work and to live," he said.

Mayor Hancock said he is getting regular updates from police chief Robert White   While some victims wish police came forward sooner -- the mayor feels  the police response was swift and responsible.

"Let's not make any mistakes, this is not 2009, where we waited until there were a couple of dozens of incidents," said the Mayor. "You had tens of thousands of people in Downtown during New Year's eve, and so with that number of people and you're still talking about three victims, we don't take that lightly at all, but you're also talking about this was an unusual circumstance for the number of people at one or two o'clock in the morning."

As the mayor promises justice for the victims, efforts are being made to install more Halo cameras.  The surveillance cameras are placed in strategic locations and monitored by the city.  Yet not one of the cameras near the crime scenes captured the attacks.      

"We don't know the exact angle where it was at.  Maybe it was a block of where we usually have it in populated areas.  So we have to look at all those things.  I guess my point that I'm making is, we're addressing it, " said council member Albus Brooks, who serves on the public safety committee.

"Our goal is to keep people safe and people to know that this is a very vibrant growing Downtown.  We want them in downtown Denver," said the Mayor.