Crime rate in Maricopa County dropping faster than rest of U.S.

A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Monday, March 22, 2010

Crime Rates Falling in Maricopa County at

More than Twice the National Average

Prison time for felons equals less crime for the Valley

County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today that the overall crime rate in Maricopa County is dropping an average of 4.8% a year or a total of about 19% between 2004 and 2008.1 Nationally the crime rate is dropping about 2% a year2 or a total of about 8% between 2004 and 2008. This dramatic drop in crime is more than just luck or shifting demographics. It reflects a concerted effort by law enforcement to get criminals off the streets and the determination of prosecutors in the Maricopa County Attorney’s

Office to keep them off the streets.

Between 2007 and 2008:

· The number of homicides fell by 16% in Maricopa County; nationally the number fell by 3.9%

· The number of sexual assaults fell by 6% in Maricopa County; nationally that number is down by 1.6%

· The number of vehicle thefts fell by 23% in Maricopa County; nationally that number fell by 12.7%

Thomas stated, “It would be easy to dismiss the drop in crime rates in Maricopa County as part of a national trend or changing demographics if the reduction reflected the national average. But it doesn’t.

There’s been a dramatic plunge in crime rates in Maricopa County, in large part because the prosecutors in our office work to make sure violent offenders and career criminals are put behind bars. Our prosecution policies make use of the state’s mandatory sentencing laws. Our office enjoys a 94% conviction rate. I hope the legislature stands firm against calls to repeal or water down Arizona’s mandatory sentencing laws.”

The 19% decrease in crime in Maricopa County between 2004 and 2008 translates to:

· 32,000 fewer burglaries3

· 5,500 fewer robberies3

· 9,500 fewer Aggravated Assaults3

Thomas stated, “Police risk their lives to take dangerous criminals off the streets. Our prosecutors keep them off the streets. As a result it’s safer to walk the streets of our neighborhoods.” Taking more criminals off the streets has not slowed down the legal system. In fact the opposite is true. In 2005 it took 79 days to complete a typical felony case from arraignment to verdict or guilty plea. In 2009 that number dropped to 32 days. That’s a 59% decrease. The use of regional court centers and clearly defined plea policies were critical in the decrease. Regional court centers streamline and eliminate

unnecessary hearings and quickly resolve cases when a defendant wishes to plead guilty. The ‘Plead to the Lead’ policy establishes that the County Attorney’s Office will not allow defendants to plea to lesser charges in most serious felony cases, therefore cutting down on haggling and bargaining that at one time clogged the legal system.

1 -4.7% from 2004 to 2005; -4.8% from 2005 to 2006; -3.6% from 2006 to 2007; -6.1% from 2007

to 2008 based on crimes per capita

2 FBI Uniform Crime Report

3 Crime in Arizona, Department of Public Safety, 2004-2008


  1. Impressive considering the board of supervisors has decimated the budgets of sheriff arpaio and county attorney down to next to nothing so they can build their taj majal $340 million court tower of porcelain, travertine and wood floors. Gotta buy off those judges so stapley and wilcox can continue to avoid prosecution.

  2. Like New York City discovered when it cracked down on illegal behavior, it proves that this law enforcement business is far more straightforward than all the excuses and nuancing and “root causes” dodges favored by Liberals.

    Now, it is a fact of life that criminals are not so stupid that they will stay in areas that will not tolerate bad behavior. Those who don’t get arrested will pack up and relocate to easier cities to harrasss. The entire state of Arizona has to be vigilent lest the problems – that is to say the usual suspects – begin plying their crime trade in their neighborhoods.

  3. Did you see the article in the Arizona Repugnant today about how much the Supervisors attempts to thwart prosecution is costing taxpayers? $3.2 million and counting. When is it going to end? Are they going to get away with the criminal activity? I sure wish I was Don Stapley so I could raise campaign funds for a non-existent race, then spend them on lavish vacations for my family, spa trips, massages, a hair piece, etc. Must be nice to be a high-level county official, you get to use taxpayers money to stave off prosecution. What has come of our county? We’ve turned into Chicago.

  4. Kenny Jacobs says

    Is there a link to the actual study or citation so we can look at the methodology? The numbers presented here are all over the place, we could use the actual work to review.

  5. Wanumba:

    The “root cause” in this case in our case happens to lie in the desire of certain business/political types to arrange for “sanctuary” areas for the criminal element so long as they get a piece of the action.

    People like Thomas and Arpaio won’t play the game, therefore they’ve been marked for political, and perhaps legal, destruction by ‘the root causits”

    An Orwellian scenario but perfectly in tune with the national scene!

  6. Once Stapley and Wilcox are out of business, the crime rate will drop even more.

    Keep up the great work!


  1. […] the Order… County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today that the overall crime rate in Maricopa County is dropping an average of 4.8% a year or a […]

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