Littleton Police are filing far fewer case reports than normal for this time of year, but the number of reported burglaries and car thefts are up. Littleton Police took 460 case reports between March …
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Littleton Police are filing far fewer case reports than normal for this time of year, but the number of reported burglaries and car thefts are up.
Littleton Police took 460 case reports between March 15 — roughly when shutdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19 stepped up — and April 15, according to records provided by the department. That's a 44% drop from the same period last year, when police took 825 case reports.
In the same time period, the department received 23 reports of burglaries this year, up from 13 last year. There were 18 reported car thefts in the same time period this year, up from 10 last year.
Littleton averaged 18 reported burglaries per month in 2018, the most recent year for which Colorado Bureau of Investigation data is available. Littleton averaged 16 car thefts a month in 2018 — double the rate just four years earlier in 2014.
Littleton Police spokesman Cmdr. Trent Cooper asserted officers are patrolling just as often, and said there are even more officers on patrol than normal, because school resource officers have been reassigned to patrol while schools are closed.
Cooper said the plummeting calls for service are due to businesses being closed, and because the department has asked officers to minimize “self-initiated work, in the interest of minimizing their unnecessary exposure to the public.”
LPD is asking the public to file as many reports as possible over the phone or online, Cooper said. Many employees, including detectives, are working from home.
“We don't want to send message that we aren't out there and it's a free-for-all,” Cooper said.
Cooper said it's tough to draw conclusions from the burglary and car theft data because the numbers are small and can jump up or down from month to month. It would take a longer sample to draw conclusive trends, he said.
Cooper also said nine of the 23 burglary reports are from one self-storage lot, at Windermere Street and Belleview Avenue, which has been repeatedly targeted by thieves. Cooper said the department's special enforcement team is paying close attention to the lot, but doesn't yet have suspect descriptions.
The department has halted speed traps to minimize officer contact with the public, Cooper said, but asserted that officers are still instructed to take action against “clear safety violations” like excessive speed or running red lights.
Though numbers weren't immediately available, Cooper said the department is taking more mental health calls, and has handled a greater than average number of drug overdoses and several suicides.
“People are stressed out, and they don't feel in control,” Cooper said. “A lot of people are really struggling.”
So far, the department has not had any officers test positive for COVID-19, and the department is routinely decontaminating workspaces and patrol cars with help from the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office. The department has mutual aid agreements with other local police departments in case multiple officers fall sick at once.
“We want the community to know how much we appreciate their support,” Cooper said. “We're here for you.”
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