Cortez is a safe place

Statistics show city has a low crime rate

Cortez scored well on a study that analyzes crime statistics in cities and counties across the nation.

The Homefacts study looked at three categories: total crime, violent crime and the property crime index.

Cortez received an A-minus grade for the total crime index, an A when it came to violent crimes and a B for property crimes.

A score of 100 is the national average and anything below this number means fewer crimes have been committed, leading to a better grade, while the opposite holds true for cities where scores are higher than 100.

The total crime index for Cortez was 37.92, while the study gave Cortez a score of 21.84 for violent crimes.

The property crime index number score for the city was 86.16.

According to the 2011 Homefacts statistics, there were zero murders and forcible rapes in Cortez.

However there was a manslaughter case that lead to a conviction in 2012 and an alleged murder occurred in early 2012. Dolores resident Dylan Kuhn pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his infant daughter and Luther Hampson is awaiting trial later this year on a murder charge.

Based on a population of 100,000 people when looking at the national averages, there were 23.2 percent of robberies compared to the national average of 113.7 for this crime and 69.5 vehicle thefts compared to the national average of 229.6 for this offense.

Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell said he was not surprised at the good scores for the community relating to the low crime rate.

Spruell said he has no idea how the scores were calculated or what methodology was used to come up with the grades and scores.

"It is a safe community because of the people we have here," Spruell said. "It's just a hometown feel of neighbors watching out for neighbors."

Spruell said while the scores reflect well on the community's crime rate, he expects to receive an A grade for every category.

According to statistics from the Cortez Police Department and the sheriff's office, there were a combined 248 instances of property damage in 2011.

The B grade for property damage instances from Homefacts is not a total surprise to the sheriff.

He said while the grade is above average, the property crime index grades are something that should be improved.

"The only thing I want to see are A's across the board," he said.

Still, Spruell said the clearance rate is well above the national average for one primary reason.

"I think it's the people and the people who watch out for everyone," he said, adding that being proactive in law enforcement likely played a role in the overall grade, too.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com