Commerce City/Brighton, Colorado
Addressing Sexual Assault through multi-agency collaboration and training
Two Colorado law enforcement agencies, in adjacent jurisdictions, are partnering to develop and implement a multi-jurisdictional Sexual Assault Taskforce (SATF) to more effectively address sex crimes in their bordering communities. The SATF will leverage gains made through the You Have Options program implementation and will be comprised of detectives and victim services staff from both the Commerce City and Brighton Police Departments. The SATF will work collaboratively to enhance each agency’s capacity to investigate sex crimes, maintain meaningful connections with victims and survivors of sex offenses, and enforce sex offender registration more effectively. Through specialized training and a targeted, collaborative focus on this persistent and pervasive crime, SATF members will develop expertise in sexual assault investigations, forensic interviewing, sex offender management, and victim empowerment. The intended outcomes from implementing the SATF include more effective and thorough investigations, an increase in victim/survivor engagement, an increase in prosecutions, and a more streamlined process for sex offender management. The multi-jurisdictional taskforce framework has proven success in addressing other chronic crime problems such as drug-related investigations, but it has not been applied to, or tested for efficacy with sex crimes. The SATF is an innovative and promising approach for sex crimes investigations and sex offender registration management that aims to leverage multi-agency collaboration to allow investigators to develop a depth of experience in their field as well as community trust.
- According to Unified Crime Report (UCR) data, there was a moderate decline in rapes in Commerce City from 2015 (n=99) to 2016 (n=91) and a moderate increase in rapes in Brighton from 2015 (n=60) to 2016 (n=64). Additional sex-crime statistics for both cities that are ineligible for UCR data collection add an additional 21 reports in 2015 and 30 reports in 2016 for the Commerce City Police Department and an additional 18 reports in 2015 and 62 reports in 2016 for the Brighton Police Department, resulting in an overall rise in rapes in both jurisdictions from 2015 to 2016.
- The number of registered sex offenders rose by 16.7 percent in Commerce City from 2015 to 2016 (n=150) and 5 percent in Brighton from 2015 to 2016 (n=120).
- The Brighton Police Department saw a 75 percent increase in sexual assault reports after implementing the “You Have Options Program” in 2015.