Maricopa crime down 14% in March, but violent crime ticks up

IKEA murder arrest
Overall crime in Maricopa declined by 14 percent in March, according to statistics cited by the Maricopa Police Department. However, violent crime ticked up by eight percent. [Bryan Mordt]

Property crime was down significantly in March though violent crime rose slightly, according to a monthly report.

The report, issued by Maricopa police Chief James Hughes, compared crime statistics from February to March. Both property crime and crimes against society were down, while violent crime rose slightly.

Violent crimes, which includes homicides, sexual offenses and assaults, were up from 39 in February to 42 in March, an increase of 8%.

MPD responded to 52 Group “A” person crimes in March compared to 49 in February.

“MPD will continue to focus on domestic violence through education and prevention,” the report said. “Our (school resource officers) have been working closely with their assigned school administrators to address assault-related incidents in our schools (and) 52 percent of all assaults reported to MPD result in the immediate arrest of the offender.”

Property crime dropped dramatically in March, from 11 in February to just two, and fraud arrests declined from 36 to 28, a 28% drop. Stolen vehicles remained unchanged at three and March saw a 27% decrease in criminal damage arrests, from 33 in February to 24. Total property crimes declined from 129 in February to just 106 in March, a decrease of 23 crimes and 18%.

Crimes Against Persons – murder, rape and assault, for example – are those whose victims are always individuals, according to the FBI. In Crimes Against Property – robbery, bribery and burglary – the objective is to obtain money, property or some other benefit. Crimes Against Society – gambling, prostitution and drug violations – represent society’s prohibition of certain types of activity; they are typically victimless crimes in which property is not the object.

“For a city of our size to have only two burglaries for the month of March is tremendous,” Hughes said in the report. “This includes both commercial and residential structures. Our night shifts continue their focus on crime prevention and the daily mission of our night patrols is to maintain periodic property checks of the new developments in our city (and) collaborate with the builders, many of whom have installed cameras.”

Nearly half of theft crimes were shoplifting from retail stores, said Hughes, adding Community Policing and Criminal Investigations units would continue to work with the business community to identify repeat offenders.

Drug crimes decreased 21%, from 52 in February to 41 in March. Weapons offenses increased by 45%, from seven to 10. There was a total of 51 crimes against society in March – up 18% from 41 a month earlier.

The report also addressed lesser crimes, known as Group B crimes, which are mostly the result of proactive policing. These include DUI and liquor laws. In March, there were 98 Group B crimes in comparison to 119 in February, a reduction of 18%.

Overall, including both Group A and B crimes, Maricopa saw a 14% decrease in crime in March from the previous month. Assaults, thefts and drug offenses account for more than half the crime in the city.