Mesa County Jail.

Colorado Bureau of Investigation crime statistics released last month highlighted trends both locally and across Colorado but, for Western Slope law enforcement, statistics and intelligence-led policing is a matter of course rather than a periodic checkup.

At the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, members of the agency have been meeting monthly and even weekly to discuss what they are seeing in the community and what they can do to prevent it.

"Intelligence-led policing is a management style we took on about two years ago," said Sheriff's Office Law Operations Division Captain Todd Sorenson. "We look at what the social harms are in a community."

He said every week he joins lieutenants, analysts, intelligence officers and others to discuss the previous week's outcome.

"Did we have the right priorities … where is the crime trending?" he said.

According to Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis, a few years ago the agency identified and assigned areas for deputies to cover to better get them personally invested in those communities.

The agency has 76 distinct neighborhoods, or districts that the agency draws data from and analyzes to find where the problems are in all 76 so they can address them directly.

The agency targeted a specific list of crimes, mostly property crimes, that could be prevented from increased presence, education and other policing tools.

"We felt like if we could really get in there into those communities … we could have a positive effect," Lewis added.

He said studies have shown that if you push hard on property crimes, the violent crime rate declines.

One crime the agency is looking to educate the public on is theft from motor vehicles, which saw a decrease from 268 in 2017 to 189 in 2018, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Megan Terlecky said educating the community about locking cars at night has shown to be a deterrent in preventing the crime.

For the Sheriff's Office, the CBI numbers showed a decrease across the board in property crimes with larceny, burglary, fraud, motor vehicle theft and robbery crimes all down in 2018 compared to 2017.

Larceny crimes saw a 22% decrease compared to the previous year and motor vehicle thefts were down almost 27%.

The violent crime rate throughout Mesa County also saw a significant decline in 2018, with a 22% decrease compared to 2017.

For the Sheriff's Office, violent crimes decreased almost 32% last year with 179 violent crimes in 2018 compared to 262 in 2017.

When asked how important crime statistics are in how the agency directs resources, Lewis said they play a significant role in what they do.

"We review them regularly, not just when the CBI comes out," Lewis said. "You've got the uniform crime report published by the FBI. Crime in Colorado published by CBI and then we've got internal stats … When you talk about crime stats, we aren't waiting for CBI … what we are doing is real-time.

"We are looking at it routinely to make course corrections and decide where to send resources," he said. "If we are waiting for the CBI stats, we would be failing."

One tool the agency started in 2017 was bait vehicle operations to catch car thieves.

Sorenson said the bait operations are intelligence- and analysis-led.

He said the agency uses analysis to let them know where placing the bait car would most likely result in a theft.

The Sheriff's Office saw 106 cases of motor vehicle theft in 2018, according to the CBI numbers, with a clearance rate of 26%.

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