COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo -

79 year old Hope Smith has lived in Colorado Springs since she was three years old.  She knows a thing or two about being a crime survivor.  When she was six, a man crept into her family home, "My mom heard a noise downstairs so she got my dad up and a guy was in the bed, drunk.  He said I guess I got the wrong house. He took his shoes and just ran out of the house." 

Ten years ago, Hope was mugged by what she described as a man on drugs.  She had just gotten out of a west side grocery store, "I felt my backpack kind of move and I turned around and said what are you doing?  He threw me on the ground like a rag doll and kicked me in the kidneys.  I was bleeding really bad.  I'm happy that I'm alive."  Hope still believes Colorado Springs is a safe city, despite what happened to her ten years ago however she has this message we can all learn from, "Just be aware of the people around you."

That same message is echoed by the Colorado Springs Police Department.  Lieutenant Adrian Vasquez is with the Violent Crimes Section, "Anyone has to use caution or common sense in their daily activities.  They need to be aware of their surroundings, so the chance of them becoming a victim is smaller than possible."

Here are the Colorado Springs numbers when it comes to murder from 2009-2012.  It ranges from a law of 15 in 2009 to a high of 28 in 2011.  Last year's number is at 21.  The robbery numbers from the same time period hovers around 525 or 526 except for 2011 which hit a low of 453.   However you really have to look beyond the straight numbers to the real deal of solve rates for these crimes.

Lieutenant Vasquez tells me the robbery solve rate in Colorado Springs is 37 percent.  Nationally, that same solve rate for robbery is at 28 percent.  The murder solve rate in Colorado Springs has hovered between 93-96 percent over the last several years.  Nationally, the murder solve rate is at 66 percent, depending on the year.  High tech like web cross referencing and surveillance cams in businesses helps CSPD to solve crimes, but Lieutenant Vasquez says there is still one constant in police work, "We get a lot of information from witnesses but our detectives to connect with people is the number one skill to keep our crime numbers down and our ability to keep our solve rate for crimes, up."

When it comes to crimes the experts say keep it simple, change your patterns to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.  For more tips to stay safe, go to our front page, KRDO.com and links we mentioned.  I've put a link on there to the Colorado Springs Police Department.