Aurora po­lice in­ten­sify pa­trols, ap­peal for help

3 more bias-mo­ti­vated crimes re­ported dur­ing week­end

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Bruce Fin­ley Bruce Fin­ley: 303-954-1700, bfin­ley@den­ver­post.com or @fin­ley­bruce

Three more hate at­tacks tar­get­ing African-Amer­i­can fam­i­lies in Aurora have up­set res­i­dents and com­pelled po­lice on Mon­day to step up pa­trols and ap­peal to the pub­lic for help.

The au­thor­i­ties have been in­ves­ti­gat­ing af­ter other re­cent at­tacks. Po­lice Chief Nick Metz, Mayor Steve Ho­gan and other city lead­ers have de­clared hate crimes will not be tol­er­ated in Aurora, which bills it­self as the safest large city in Colorado.

Over the week­end, van­dals left threat­en­ing notes and spray­painted racial slurs — “KKK” and the like — on three apart­ment doors near the 6700 block of South Rivera Court.

“Peo­ple are scared,” one res­i­dent said, ask­ing that her name not be printed for fear her fam­ily could be tar­geted.

The at­tack­ers may be pos­ing as mis­sion­ar­ies and car­pet-cleaner sales­peo­ple, mov­ing door to door, to learn racial in­for­ma­tion about res­i­dents who then are tar­geted, the res­i­dent said. In ad­di­tion to spray-painted scrawls on doors, the at­tacks this past week­end in­cluded threat­en­ing mes­sages on notes, she said.

Aurora po­lice have stepped up pa­trols, agency spokes­woman Diana Coo­ley said.

Po­lice on Mon­day posted a bul­letin on their de­part­men­tal Face­book page say­ing “these bias-mo­ti­vated crimes will con­tinue to be a high pri­or­ity for the Aurora Po­lice Depart­ment.”

The re­cent crimes “all have that pat­tern — the spray paint­ing and note,” Coo­ley said. “This is go­ing to alarm some folks. It is some­thing we take se­ri­ously. If you are a res­i­dent and see some­thing sus­pi­cious, please con­tact the po­lice depart­ment.”

The at­tacks Satur­day and Sun­day fol­lowed at­tacks Nov. 22 and Nov. 29 on a dif­fer­ent AfricanAmer­i­can fam­ily. City lead­ers on Nov. 30 lamented that con­tentious pres­i­den­tial elec­tion pol­i­tics were spilling into the com­mu­nity and vowed an ag­gres­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Aurora res­i­dents have re­ported at least nine bias-re­lated crimes since the Nov. 8 elec­tion and Metz has said he be­lieves other in­ci­dents may be hap­pen­ing that haven’t been re­ported.

Na­tion­wide, po­lice have re­ported surges of hate crimes since the elec­tion. The South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter doc­u­mented 867 hate crime in­ci­dents dur­ing the 10 days af­ter the elec­tion, in­clud­ing 21 in Colorado. The Colorado crimes tar­geted im­mi­grants, African-Amer­i­cans, women and chil­dren.

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