The Denver police Department recently released nearly half a decade of drug-related-criminal-information. It was a drug-data-dump for the ages, showing where, when and what kinds of drug crimes were committed between January 2011 and mid-March 2016 in the Mile-High City — and it paints a very vivid picture of Denver’s drug scene and culture.

A picture that the folks over at took it upon themselves to actually draw out. They took the DPD’s drug-data and compiled it into several comprehensive maps of Denver’s cocaine, heroin, firearm and graffiti crimes. 

There’s a lot you can unpack from maps like this: assumptions about socio-economic issues, questions about DPD’s resource distribution, local party hot-spots, dangerous neighborhoods, where the good spots to buy drugs are…

We’ll leave that kind of speculation up to you, though.


 Graphic courtesy of
Graphic courtesy of

Clearly, cocaine possession is uhh… somewhat universal throughout much of Denver proper.  (Surprise surprise!)

However, there are three unmistakable hotspots on this map: East Colfax between Monaco Parkway and Yosemite Street; East Colfax between Broadway and Humboldt; along the 16th Street mall; and the area concentrated between the Central Business District and 5 Points (aka LoDo).

Then, of course, we have freckles of coke sale and possession charges scattered like constellations across the west side of I-25 — from Garfield Lake spread almost evenly all the way up to Berkeley Lake.


Graphic courtesy of mantascode.comGraphic courtesy of

Heroin crime, comparatively, is much less frequent than coke-crime in Denver, according to DPD’s statistics. That’s easy to see even with just a cursory glance over the heroin crime map.

What’s interesting though, is where the most arrests for selling heroin are concentrated: right out front of the State Capitol. The corner of North Broadway and Colfax has far more blue dots (heroin sales arrests) than anywhere else on the map — though there also seems to be decent blue patches at the corner of Santa Fe Drive and Colfax, as well. The 16th street mall is a hot spot for arrests as well, but those are almost exclusively possession arrests.

Is that simply because most of Denver’s heroin is sold around the capitol? Or is it simply because there are more police in that area, and thus more arrests for drug crimes?

Hard to say — but according to DPD’s data, the Civic Center is the place to buy heroin if you’re trying to pick up. Just be warned: that area has its share of red dots too.


Graphic courtesy of

Perhaps not surprisingly, the hot-spots for firearms arrests line up almost perfectly with the hotspots correlated to cocaine and heroin arrests. Drug crimes and gun crimes go hand in hand — a fact that this data-set only supports and actually illustrates pretty clearly.


Graphic courtesy of

The “bonus” graffiti map says a lot less about any specific neighborhood, and more about the city of Denver at large: people like to tag things here. Almost the entire city is plastered with purple dots, which makes sense if you’ve been around Denver recently. Graffiti is everywhere (some of it is good, some of it… not so much).

And, as an extra “bonus” here’s a time-lapse video of all of these crimes in Denver over the last five years.

It’s like watching a criminal visualizer…