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US Attorney: Tribes need more law enforcement

"At first glance, this picturesque village, nestled beneath Sleeping Ute Mountain near the Four Corners monument and a short drive from Mesa Verde National Park, might seem an unlikely candidate to be the murder capital of Colorado.

Just over 2,000 tribal members live on the entire Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation south of Cortez, many in or near Towaoc (pronounced toy- ACK), seat of the tribal government. Yet this year alone, there have been a staggering five murders and one unexplained death on that reservation.

Immediately to the east, the Southern Ute Indian Reservation south of Durango is home to about 1,400 tribal members. Two victims have been murdered there so far this year, including an infant thrown against a wall. The recent death of a third person is still being investigated.

Taken together, the murder rate for Colorado's two Indian nations is 20 times higher than the state average. It rivals the number of murders in Colorado Springs, the state's second-largest city with a population of 360,890.

What accounts for this appalling rate of violent crime in southwestern Colorado?"

Get the Story:
Troy A. Eid: Colorado's Indian reservations in need of more policing, judges (The Denver Rocky Mountain News 12/2)

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