Dissolution of Impact Unit Could Lead to More Property Crimes
Posted By: Jacob Martinez
The Colorado Springs Police Department used to have an Impact Unit that worked to handle property crimes. They were very effective, too. Between January and mid-September of this year, the Impact Unit recovered $1 million worth of stolen vehicles, $52,000 worth of stolen property, and made 1,900 arrests related to property crimes.
There was a problem, however. Dedicating officers to the Impact Unit meant that there weren’t enough police patrolling the streets. Many officers were being put at risk, and numerous citizens were left waiting far too long for the department to respond to dangerous situations.
Because of this, the police chief made a bold move. To better prioritize where and how his officers catch criminals, Chief Peter Carey disbanded the Impact Unit and put those officers back on patrol.
His hope is that the move will benefit both citizens calling the police about an emergency situation and the officers who respond to those situations. Many worry, however that property crimes in Colorado Springs could skyrocket.
How Serious Are Property Crimes in Colorado Springs?
The removal of the Impact Unit is a controversial decision for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that property crimes are taken very seriously in Colorado. Some of the charges and penalties for property crimes in our state include:
Arson – There are multiple types of charges for arson, which range from misdemeanors to a class 3 felony. This means you could face anywhere from a few months in jail to 4-12 years, as well as up to $750,000 in fines.
Criminal Mischief – While it is a very different crime from arson, criminal mischief charges are treated in a similar manner. Perhaps not surprisingly, these charges also range from a misdemeanor to a class 3 felony.
Burglary – Burglary charges, regardless of what degree, are felony offenses in Colorado. Third degree burglary charges may result in up to three years in prison. First degree burglary charges have a sentence of up to 12 years in prison.
Robbery – There is a huge difference in sentencing for robbery depending on the factors involved. Simple robbery is a class 4 felony, and a conviction will result in up to six years in prison. Aggravated robbery, due to its classification as a Crime of Violence, can qualify for an extended sentence of up to 32 years in prison. If controlled substances are involved, the sentence may be extended even further.
Trespassing – Even if no physical damage was committed, trespassing can still result in criminal charges, and trespassing in the first degree is a felony charge.
Defacing Property – If you are caught adding graffiti to property, you could face months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Subsequent convictions can bump up charges, and you may face fines up to $5,000.
The factors that make the biggest difference in charges and sentencing for property crimes include:
- The value of the property that was damaged or destroyed
- Prior criminal convictions
- Whether or not the crime was committed with deadly weapons, firearms, or unlawfully obtained tools
Since property crimes are expected to increase with the loss of the Impact Unit, anyone who is caught is likely to face harsher penalties than before because local law enforcement officials may want to make an example out of them to discourage these types of crimes. Don’t let them make you into a cautionary tale – contact a Colorado defense lawyer today to fight back.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.