Marijuana, Gangs Appear To Be Behind Pueblo Crime Increase

Pueblo saw an increase in violent crime last year, according to reports from the city police department and FBI crime data.

Police Chief Luis Velez told the City Council earlier this week that means that the rate of crime in Pueblo is nearly double the national average.

Sgt. Eric Gonzales said Tuesday that the national average comes from 2014 FBI crime data. Early 2015 data suggests that some crime rates in cities of the same size (100,000 to 249,999) may have risen as well.

In Pueblo, emergency calls that included the words "gang," "shots fired," "drive-by" and "marijuana" each increased from 2014 to 2015. Gonzales said there's interest in tracking the effects of marijuana in the community given its recent legalization.