Sex, Drugs, and Alcohol: A Student Safety Presentation #ShareGJ

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StudentsAs parents, there are few things that we value above the health and safety of our children.  Any parent of a high school or college bound son or daughter knows the concern that the influence of peers often outweighs mom’s or dad’s input.

The Grand Junction Police Department would like to invite parents, as well as high school and college age young adults, to join us for a frank discussion about how we can equip our young people to make safe, smart choices that can help protect them and their friends.  Sergeant Suzette Freidenberger, a 15 year veteran of the Grand Junction Police Department, offers a candid presentation about how to navigate the many choices with which young people are confronted.  In settings where alcohol and/or drugs are present, an ill-considered choice can have long term consequences.  We will be joined by a panel of guests, including health care professionals, school resource officers, and other invested community members.

It is important to empower our sons and daughters to recognize these serious circumstances and be ready to make sound decisions that can protect them and their peers.  Parents, please know that this will be a candid discussion, with graphic language and content.  It is strongly recommended that parents plan to attend with their high school and college age children, and be part of the conversation.

When: Monday, April 10, 6:30pm

Where: Grand Junction Police Department, 555 Ute Avenue

Please contact Heidi Davidson at (970)549-5114, or at heidid@gjcity.org, to RSVP or with questions.

Barricaded Subject #GVCopBeat

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Suspect Identified:  Nicholas Lee Guzman, 07 05 1990, 5′ 07″, 205 lbs, Brown Hair, Brown Eyes. Guzman is currently wanted on three warrants, one stemming from yesterday’s incident of domestic violence which is for Felony Menacing, one from March 19th, which is Harassment Domestic Violence and a Parole Violation which was a result of the March 19th incident. If you have information on Guzman’s whereabouts please contact the G.J.P.D. or Mesa County Crime Stoppers.

GUZMAN

On 23rd March 2017 at 1350 hrs, officers responded to the 1900 block of Chipeta Court on the report of a male holding a female at gunpoint in a residence. Officers surrounded the house and a ‘Shelter in Place’ notification was sent out to surrounding residents.

The female victim managed to get out of the residence and was contacted by officers, giving details about the male inside. Attempts to contact the male were not successful.

The male is known to police, he has two warrants for his arrest. There are domestic violence related charges for the male as a result of this incident. An arrest warrant has been requested for the male.

GJPD #17-00017961

Burglary & Auto Theft #GVCopBeat

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On Sunday, March 19th, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to the Holiday Inn Express on  removal of a subject. Officer arrived on scene and contacted hotel staff who reported a male was wondering around inside the address and acting strange. The male suspect, who was later identified as Jeremiah Tomaske age 36, was gone when police arrived.

While investigating a vehicle break-in at the hotel, officers were alerted to a trespass in progress in the 2300 block of Leland Avenue. Once officers arrived at this scene, it was determined Tomaske jumped a fence to a business and was currently inside a fenced yard. Tomaske gained entry into a vehicle and was able to take physical control of the vehicle. Tomaske drove the vehicle through a fence causing more than $1000 in damage. Tomaske drove the vehicle to another address on Leland Avenue, parked the vehicle, and fled on foot.

At approximately 1123 hours, officers responded to the area of 25 Road and Waite Avenue on a report of another trespass in progress. When officers arrived, they located Tomaske and determined he matched the description of the other incidents. He was arrested, transported to the Mesa County Jail, and booked in on multiple charges.

Armed Robbery #GVCopBeat

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On Thursday, March 16th shortly before 7:00pm, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department responded to the Burger King located at 1730 North Avenue on a report of a robbery. On scene, officer’s contacted employees who described the suspect as being a white male, mid-20’s, approximately 6’00” tall and thin build. The male was armed with a weapon and left the address with an undisclosed amount of money. There were no injuries and the suspect is still at large. The investigation is ongoing.

Victim, Suspects Identified in Homicide Investigation #GVCopBeat

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Cropped Badge-Transparent BackgroundThe Mesa County Coroner has released the identity of the victim of last night’s homicide in the 400 Block of 28 ¼ Road. The Coroner’s release can be found here.

The two men arrested in connection with the homicide can now be identified, as well.

Richard Byrd, age 48, of Grand Junction, was arrested shortly after 7:00am in the 2700 Block of B ½ Road, without incident.

Also arrested was Rufus Billups, age 41, of Grand Junction. Billups was taken into custody shortly before 6:00am this morning in the 2900 Block of Bunting Avenue, without incident.

Both men are in the custody of the Mesa County Jail on charges of Murder in the First Degree and Felony Menacing. The booking photos for Byrd and Billups will not yet be released, pending additional witness interviews.  The arrest affidavits for both subjects have been sealed.

Anyone with information pertaining to this investigation is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at (970)241-STOP, or call non-emergency dispatch at (970)242-6707.

Update to Shooting #GVCopBeat

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Cropped Badge-Transparent BackgroundOn Wednesday night, shortly after 9pm, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department responded to the 400 Block of 28 1/4 Road on reports of multiple shots fired in the area.  Upon arrival, officers located an adult male victim who had been shot.  The male was transported to the hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries.  The victim was 38 years old, and his identity will be released by the Mesa County Coroner’s Office.

Two adult males have been arrested on charges of First Degree Murder.  The affidavits for the arrestees have been sealed by the court, and no further information about the details of their arrests will be released at this time.  The investigation is still active and ongoing, and interviews of witnesses will continue in the coming days.

If anyone has information that they believe could be relevant to this case, please call Crime Stoppers at (970)241-STOP, or visit their website at http://www.241STOP.com.  You can also call non-emergency dispatch at (970)242-6707, reference case number 17-16280.

2016 GJPD Crime and Traffic Report Now Available #GVCopBeat

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Cropped Badge-Transparent BackgroundEach spring, the Grand Junction Police Department releases a statistical analysis of crime in our city. This is valuable information for our citizens, and is critical for our agency in making resource deployment decisions.

Total reported crime in 2016 showed a 9% increase over 2015. Of particular concern is a 39% increase in the category of Violent Crime, which confirms what we already knew…it was a very busy year, and a particularly dangerous year for police officers. That said, there were some statistical anomalies that bear further explanation, and which may have artificially inflated the overall increase.

Most notably, in the area of Aggravated Assault, recent legislation has reclassified most strangulation cases from a misdemeanor to a felony. Assault by strangulation accounted for 44 of the 140 aggravated assaults reported to our agency in 2016. Without that reclassification, our overall violent crime increase would have been about 17% rather than 39%.

The annual Grand Junction Police Department Crime & Traffic report not only includes crime reported to the police by the public, but also includes proactive work by officers that results in additional reports of crime. Examples of that kind of proactive work include DUI arrests, liquor enforcement, and many of the drug related offenses.

It is important to note that the GJPD gathers crime statistics in an Incident Based Reporting (IBR) format which includes every offense in every criminal incident, instead of just the most serious offense. For example, if a suspect breaks into a home, causes damage inside, and then steals a car from the garage, we record it as a Burglary, a Criminal Mischief, and an Auto Theft, even though it arises out of only one incident.

It’s also important to note that the numbers in our annual report reflect reported crime numbers, not actual crimes that have occurred. In 2016, about 3% (or roughly 350) of our criminal reports were ultimately determined to be unfounded, meaning that after an investigation by the officer or detective, it was determined that a crime did not in fact occur. Those cases are still reflected in our crime statistics as reported crime however. On the other hand, 55% of reported crimes resulted in the arrest of a suspect(s).

Sometimes in crime categories where the actual number of reported incidents is quite low, even a small increase or decrease can result in a somewhat misleading change in percentage. The crime of Prostitution is a good example of this. In 2015, there were four reports of prostitution in our jurisdiction. In 2016, that number increased to 7, resulting in a 75% increase in that crime category. Because the sample size is so small however, the increase does not necessarily indicate a concerning trend, and in fact the 7 reported incidents in 2016 is about equal to the four year average of prostitution reports handled by our agency.

Occasionally, certain crime titles generate preconceived perceptions that aren’t necessarily an accurate depiction of the problem. For many of us, the word kidnapping brings up terrifying images of school children being abducted by strangers. In fact, the majority of our kidnapping investigations, which were up 67% in 2016, occur when an adult victim is physically prevented from leaving a room or using a phone, usually arising out of a domestic violence incident. We only had one kidnapping in 2016 in which the suspect was not known to the adult victim.

Usually, we think of decreases in reported crime as a positive thing, however that may not always be the case. Because some crime reports are primarily initiated through proactive enforcement by officers, such as traffic offenses and DUIs, increases in those categories can be a good thing. Conversely, decreases in those categories may indicate that patrol officers have insufficient time to proactively look for those types of violations. For example, our 30% increase in dispatched calls over the last five years has negatively impacted what we call “uncommitted time” (time in which they aren’t handling calls for service) for our officers, during which most proactive activity takes place.

Another example of crime statistics that may on the surface seem positive, but don’t capture the entire picture, is crimes against children. Although we only saw a 1% increase in reported child abuse in 2016, and a 6% decrease in reported sexual assaults on children, reports of crimes against children in 2015 had increased almost 40%. So while we saw less of an increase in 2016, crimes against children are still up almost 25% over the five year average in that critical category.

Analysis of annual crimes statistics are one tool we use to gauge policing efforts in our community. However, without thorough evaluation and understanding of the numbers, they are only that…numbers. We encourage Grand Junction residents to take a look at the 2016 Reported Crime and Traffic report that can be found here, and we welcome your questions and comments.