Using FBI crime numbers from 2015, a national security company named Maricopa to its Top 10 list of burglary-safe Arizona cities.
Maricopa is No. 8.
Protect America’s annual list is comprised of data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report. That reported 94 burglaries within Maricopa’s population of more than 48,000 last year.
“A lot of the credit does need to go to the community members who look out for each other, who talk with each other,” Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl said. “We live in a community where people really do care about each other. Whether it’s a brand new development or the Heritage District where everybody knows everybody, we look out for each other, and that’s what makes a safe community.”
Stahl said the third-highest call for service is suspicious activity. He views that as a sign residents are watching their neighborhoods.
“Our hope in creating these Top 10 lists is to raise burglary awareness and offer home security tips to communities that need them,” said Zane Schwarzlose, community liaison with Protect America.
Maricopa was the second-largest Arizona city in the so-called Safe Zone. Gilbert was No. 9 on the list. No. 1 in the Safe Zone was Florence with just 1.26 burglaries per 1,000 people, though Stahl pointed out the stats include prisoners in population numbers. Meanwhile, Tolleson had the highest ratio of burglaries to residents last year at 31 per 1,000 people.
“We value CompStat. We look at daily crime, daily trends, weekly trends,” Stahl said. “And if we are seeing a concern, the operations commander collects his people to address those things.”
That involves a crime analyst and a partnership with the Arizona Fusion Center to find likely suspects. When burglaries and thefts increase in a neighborhood, analysis helps officers find a cause.
“It could be one a variety of things: Somebody just got released from jail and now they’re back to their old ways; it could be that the HOA made some new rule that not everyone has to keep their coach lights on all the time anymore; it could be somebody new moved into the neighborhood,” Stahl said.
With CompStat, MPD identifies problems and develops a plan to approach the problem, including officers canvassing on foot.
The key to successfully finding a deterrent is the “relentless follow-up.” For Stahl, that means, “solving that problem to the chief’s satisfaction.”
He credits volunteers and their house-watch program with being a great crime deterrent. The program gives MPD another marked vehicle and another set of eyes in neighborhoods.
The most common theft in Maricopa comes back to residents’ behavior – allowing possessions to be easy pickings.
“Unfortunately, at least seven out of 10 of our break-ins are unlocked vehicles and open doors and open windows,” Stahl said. “I mean, everybody wants to enjoy the nice, cool nights now. People still need to vigilant and take measures to protect themselves.”
Unlocked cars parked on streets or in driveways, especially unlighted driveways, are a particular temptation. Stahl has always asked residents to park their vehicles in their garages, but simply locking vehicles is a burglary-prevention tactic.
“Most bad people, if the door is locked and you haven’t left anything visible in the car, they’re going to go to the next car,” Stahl said. “If they have to force their way in, they’re going to leave some evidence behind.”
2016 Arizona Burglary Safe Zones
1. Florence: Population 26,926, Burglaries 34 [1.26 burglaries per 1,000 people]
2. Mammoth: Population 1,476, Burglaries 2 [1.36]
3. Sahuarita: Population 28,067, Burglaries 44 [1.57]
4. Thatcher: Population 5,065, Burglaries 8 [1.58]
5. Marana: Population 41,302, Burglaries 69 [1.67]
6. Willcox: Population 3,569, Burglaries 6 [1.68]
7. Oro Valley: Population 42,258, Burglaries 79 [1.87]
8. Maricopa: Population 48,193, Burglaries 94 [1.95]
9. Gilbert: Population 247,324, Burglaries 530 [2.14]
10. Sedona: Population 10,340, Burglaries 25 [2.42]
2016 Arizona Burglary Hot Spots
1. Tolleson: Population 7,029, Burglaries 219 [31.17]
2. Miami: Population 1,771, Burglaries 42 [23.72]
3. Quartzsite: Population 3,613, Burglaries 65 [17.99]
4. Globe: Population 7,333, Burglaries 89 [12.14]
5. Wickenburg: Population 6,760, Burglaries 69 [10.21]
6. Holbrook: Population 5,007, Burglaries 48 [9.59]
7. Apache Junction: Population 38,519, Burglaries 352 [9.14]
8. El Mirage: Population 33,985, Burglaries 282 [8.30]
9. Glendale: Population 240,374, Burglaries 1,986 [8.26]
10. Phoenix: Population 1,559,744, Burglaries 12,798 [8.21]
When my truck was broken into last month, we stayed home Saturday night waiting for our disinterested police department t take a report, they never showed up. How many more residents have had there crimes ignored, that makes me think is a skewed report.
The Maricopa PD has made it clear on many occasions that their priority is revenue, several times I've watched them ignore public safety in favor of ticketing opportunities, like a ladder left in the road near Native just feet in front of an officer doing the hwy238 speed trap, he wouldn't get out of the cruiser. This predatory behavior defies the community policing model that make for a successful town. Preying on the Casino visitor is one thing, hassling local without the care to protect them is dereliction of duty.