DENVER -- Denver police say their increased patrols are paying off and statistics show crime is down on the 16th Street Mall, despite a series of violent attacks caught on video and posted online.
Denver police officials reacted Friday for the first time to a video posted online earlier this week showing a man being knocked to the ground and attacked by several people.
“A lot of people are going to look at this video and say, ‘Why was no one arrested?’” Denver7 chief investigative reporter Tony Kovaleski asked DPD Commander Ronald Saunier.
“We don't have a victim [who] stepped forward. If we had someone who step forward, there would have been an arrest made,” Saunier responded.
Saunier also said the man who appears in the video to be the victim of the attack may have initially been the aggressor who sparked the situation.
Millions of people have viewed a video of a homeless man swinging a PVC pipe at bystanders, posted in June. Despite the publicity surrounding that video and the newest clip, the downtown police commander said he believes police are successfully preventing crime at the mall.
Statistics provided by the Denver Police Department show 699 arrests in 2016 so far on the 16th Street Mall, down from 783 arrests during the same time period last year. The records also show arrests in July 2016 are down about 20 percent from the same month last year.
In June, police announced they would triple the number of officers patrolling the mall due to security concerns. Last month Denver7 revealed DPD at times had trouble meeting that staffing goal because not enough officers were signing up to work overtime shifts on the mall. But Saunier said the extra patrols are a priority and they do seem to be making a difference.
“I think the increased presence has moved the crimes off of the mall or prevented it from happening,” he said.
Police said their efforts are still a work in progress and they are developing a long-term plan to improve safety in the popular tourist area.
In the meantime, the Downtown Denver Partnership recently announced plans to add more private security guards to patrol the area beginning in mid-August.