AURORA | With calls to curb gun violence across the region escalating, the number of people who have been shot in Aurora but survived their injuries is up 36% year-over-year with one month still to go before the calendar turns to 2022, according to Aurora Police Department data.
There were 135 people who were shot and injured — but not killed — in the city from Jan. 1 through Nov. 24, according to Agent Matt Longshore, spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department. That’s up from 99 non-fatal shooting victims reported in the city in all of 2020.
The 2021 shooting totals mark a 136% increase over 2019, when just 57 people were reported shot and injured in the city.
People shot and killed by guns in the state’s third-largest burg is on track to stay roughly flat this year, with 29 reported gun-related homicides through Nov. 24. Thirty-three people were murdered after being shot in Aurora last year.
Reports of shots fired are down by a large margin so far this year, with 296 incidents reported year to date. There were nearly 500 such incidents listed in Aurora police call logs last year.
For a so-called “shots fired” call to show up in police statistics, investigators have to find evidence that a gun was actually discharged in the area by finding shells casings or bullet holes.
Through the end of October, major crime in Aurora was up about 18% over 2020. When stripping out property crimes and only looking at violent crimes like robbery, assault, rape and murder, the increase clocks in at about 13% year over year.
Violent crime has been up across the country, with murder rates rivaling those from the early 1990s in some areas, according to federal justice statistics. Violent crime across the U.S. rose more than 5% in 2020, the FBI announced earlier this fall.
Locally, summonses and physical arrests are still down about 7% over 2020. There were about 560 fewer arrests in Aurora through Oct. 24 than through the first 10 months of 2020.
Meanwhile, filings of the most serious criminal cases in Aurora’s largest judicial district covering Arapahoe and Douglas Counties are down slightly when compared to recent years. There have been about 3,800 such cases filed in the 18th Judicial District year to date, data show, compared to 4,500 cases in all of 2020 and 5,600 filings in 2019. Juvenile, misdemeanor and traffic filings are also on track to be slightly below 2020 and 2019 totals.
The rise in crime has bubbled to the fore in the past week following a pair of school-related shootings that left nine local teenagers injured, though all are expected to survive. The shootings occurred beside Aurora Central and Hinkley High Schools, and both involved teens firing guns from cars. Police have announced the arrest of three 16-year-olds in connection with the Hinkley shooting, and a 15-year-old in connection with the Central attack.
Police Chief Vanessa Wilson has indicated more arrests tied to the Central shooting are coming.
“If you were involved, we are coming for you,” Wilson tweeted yesterday.
Leaders like Wilson have implored parents to monitor their children’s whereabouts and activities in an attempt to prevent them from accessing firearms. Several local politicos hosted a town hall on youth violence at the Dayton Street Opportunity Center on Monday, a day after a “state of emergency” town hall on the same topic was held at an Aurora church.
Earlier this week, lawmakers in Aurora and Denver announced a forthcoming gun buyback program that will offer residents hundreds of dollars in exchange for surrendering their weapons at a handful of events slated to take place this spring.