May 20, 2022

Colorado: An “Unprecedented Rise in Security-Related Incidents and Illegal Behavior” at Denver’s Central Library

UPDATE May 23, 2017 EDITORIAL from Denver Post: “Around Denver’s Central Library, Crime and No Punishment”

UPDATE May 23, 2017 Denver Public Library Wants $51 million for Surveillance, Safety and Other Renovations at Central Branch (via Denverite)

Note: At the bottom of this post we’ve added a link to a statement on how the DPL plans to address this problem.


Mayor Michael Hancock says he doesn’t blame parents who refuse to take their children to the downtown library after 9Wants to Know’s undercover investigation exposed meth deals and heroin use taking place out in the open.


“I don’t blame them,” Mayor Hancock said. “You know, if my children were small and still going in and out of that library, I wouldn’t want to take them down there either. I certainly get it. But our job is to fix it.”


Hundreds of viewers have shared their concerns over the current amount of blatant drug use and crime occurring at Denver’s main public library, many of them expressing fears of taking children to the location.

“We love the library,” one viewer email began. “Which is why it pains me that I have asked (our child-care provider) not to take our library-loving kids to the central branch.”

A 9Wants to Know analysis of emergency dispatch calls to the downtown library showed that all calls have more than doubled during the first four months of 2017 compared to the same time last year. Some of the most notable spikes in crime were calls for assaults or fights, and drug overdose.

Read the Complete Article (apprpx. 560 words)

Additional Material

The Investigative Report Mayor Responds To:

“Overdoses and Crime Skyrocket at Downtown Library” (via KUSA)
Text and video. Approx. 1100 words)

Viewers Respond to Undercover Library Crime Investigation (via KUSA)

See Also: Six People Have Overdosed at the Denver Library’s Central Branch in 2017 (March 16, 2017 via Westword)

From Denver Public Library
An Important Message About Your Safety at the Denver Public Library (via DPL)

In the past year, the library has seen an unprecedented rise in security-related incidents and illegal behavior both inside and outside the Central Library. These incidents include drug use and trafficking, misconduct and health/sanitation issues. These behaviors are understandably shocking and upsetting to customers, staff and the public. They are absolutely unacceptable at any Denver Public Library location. We take this very seriously and want to update you on the steps we have taken and how we plan to address the problem.

Read the Complete Statement From DPL (About 780 Words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.