The city’s crime rate is down 11 percent and Maricopa Police Cmdr. James Hughes said the decrease comes at the combined effort of his department and community members.

Hughes and Sgt. Stephen Judd spoke Saturday during the monthly Coffee with the Chief at Tacos ‘N More, highlighting the job of investigators and how greater community involvement helps them succeed in their jobs.

Two of three tips a detective will follow come from community members, Hughes said.

“I think the community is the eyes and ears of stuff that gets reported to the police,” said police volunteer Terrell Hoffman, who works with Block Watch. “The police department is so busy, it’s better if they can catch the crime ahead of time.”

Judd said, “The more information we can gather, the better job we can do, and the better we will work together.”

Hoffman is working on creating a social networking system to keep neighborhoods informed, and a means for people to provide tips to police easier.

“We will all know when we’re out of town because we will know each other,” Hoffman said. “We don’t want to just see that garage door go up and down.”

Dale Jones, also at the coffee, is a volunteer who has organized a Block Watch system for community parks in the community.

Judd said vandalism and other crimes have been reduced since Jones’ park patrol system started.

Councilwoman Julia Gusse said Saturday she was enthusiastic to see the community pulling together to inform each other and the police on public safety.

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