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Fear Of Growing Crime Prompts More Active Neighborhood Involvement

By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) - It's one of Denver's highly-desired neighborhoods, but a string of recent violent crimes has some neighbors in the Sloan's Lake area on edge.

Sloan's Lake neighborhood (credit: CBS)

"There's some fear going on right now," A.J. Steinke, President of the Sloan's Lake Citizens' Group, said.

Steinke told CBS4's Kelly Werthmann crime is at an all-time high in the Sloan's Lake neighborhood. It doesn't sit well with him that two people were murdered in the area in the last month.

(credit: CBS)

"Right now Sloan's Lake is a rather hot spot on a crime blotter," he said, pointing to a Denver Police crime map that shows Sloan's Lake was a top target for home burglaries in 2017. "I think we all have to step up to curtail that."

(credit: CBS)

At least once a month, Steinke and others with the Sloan's Lake Citizens' Group meet with the Denver Police commander in District 1. They discuss various issues within the community and what they can do to help.

Steinke said a better, more proactive neighborhood watch program would work wonders.

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CBS4's Kelly Werthmann interviews A.J. Steinke. (credit: CBS)

"We really have to step up and get to know our neighbors," he said. "In Harkness Heights, they've had about 100 percent participation with their block captains, so that means their captain knows all their neighbors, has meetings per block and meets regularly. Just by that action alone they curtailed most of their crime."

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(credit: CBS)

Steinke referred to the same map that showed Sloan's Lake crime as "very high", noting crime in Harkness Heights was "low."

"That right there is the nail on the head I want to pound home," Steinke said.

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(credit: CBS)

Steinke told CBS4 a neighborhood watch program is more than a sign on a street, it's community involvement.

"We really have to watch out for each other. On average, there's 10 to 14 houses per block. If you don't know everyone on that block then we have work to do," he said. "If you don't know your neighbor, how do you know if someone who's coming out [of a house] is suspicious or not? We're not trying to reinvent the wheel, we're just trying to inspire people to come out and be neighborly."

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Steinke is confident Sloan's Lake can turn its crime rate around like Harkness Heights, as long as the community comes together to keep an eye out for anything or anyone suspicious.

"Sloan's Lake is just an amazing place, so are all the other communities in Denver, and we just need to protect that," he said.

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Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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