Phoenix is a popular place to live in the United States. Though Phoenix boasts of having sunny weather for most part of the year, this article will focus on the crime rate in Phoenix and other safety issues in Arizona.
The city of Phoenix is spread over 517 square miles. According to data released by FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics program, between 2001-2010 there was 57% drop in violent crime rate in Phoenix while property crimes fell 21%. Burglary dropped 64%, larceny-theft dropped 21%, motor vehicle theft fell 86% but murder increased 13%. In terms of overall crime rate, since its peak in 2006, cases have fallen 30%. Murders are down from 184 that year to 109 in 2010. Phoenix is not the only city in Arizona to see dips in crime rate. Other cities like Mesa, Glendale and Scottsdale are also seeing a drop in crime rate.
Arizona has always had its fair share of criminal activity with theft, robbery, murder occurring at an alarming rate even 10-15 years ago. But today all major metropolitan areas have seen a dramatic decline in crimes like rape, homicide etc, dropping 25% for violent crimes and 50% for property crimes in the state, from 1997-2007. Also as compared to 1990 figures there is a 29% drop in the rate of crime overall.
Arizona not only boasts of having an ideal climate but also has one of the lowest levels of crime & violence in the entire country.
So what brought about this change? Some say that the introduction of community policing is responsible for this shift while others feel that there is no direct link between these two; they say it’s just a coincidence as Arizona was already witnessing a crime dip since mid 2000. Though those who work on the issues cannot pinpoint one specific reason, they do attribute it to the fact that now even criminals are not as brazen and cocky as before.
Crime rate in Phoenix has come down in spite of a rise in population and unemployment rates. While population rose from 1.69 million in 1990 to 1.6 million 2000 and 2.25 million during 2010 (latest figures available), crime rate fell by 26%. Unemployment may have shot up but still crime dipped – an indicator that people are getting more cautious about their security and safety than ever before.
Hunter College professor Prof John Mollenkopf explains this phenomenon by saying that with economic growth, more jobs get created, income rises which makes communities safe for all its members – not just those who have jobs or own businesses.
Additionally, the Hispanic population in Arizona is at an all time high. Today, they constitute 29% of state’s total population (up from 17% in 1990) thereby bringing some kind of stability to the region but it cannot be solely attributed to them because those who commit crime are not limited to any particular demographic profile.
Mollenkopf suggests that politicians, police and other authorities should take credit for this as their efforts have started showing results; others like Kenneth Peak want more proactive measures taken so that cities like Phoenix can sustain its current rate of safety.