Despite an increase in violent and property crimes in 2010, overall arrests were down and Maricopa remains one of the safest cities in Arizona.
Violent crimes are murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes are burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.
“These are the categories of crime the FBI tracks,” said Maricopa Police Chief Kirk Fitch. “But they are not the only types of crime that are important to focus on.”
Violent crimes increased slightly from 40 reported cases in 2009 to 47 in 2010.
The largest increase in this area was aggravated assault, which went from 29 cases in 2009 to 37 cases in 2010.
The number of property crimes increased from 897 to 1,118, with the biggest jump in arrests for theft, up by 194 cases.
Fitch said he thought much of the increase in this category could be traced to shoplifting from retail centers in the city.
Nationwide, violent and property crime declined during the first six months of 2010. Numbers released by the FBI in August showed a 6.2 percent decrease in violent crime and a 2.8 percent decrease in property crime during the period. Numbers for the full year haven’t been released.
“Crime is down across the country,” Fitch said. “Some correlate this decrease to the aging of the group of people who typically commit crimes. Still it is odd to see the decreases because you would think with high unemployment rates there would be more of an uptick in some of these categories.”
Total arrests down
Though property and violent crimes increased slightly from 2009 to 2010, the total number of arrests made in the city of Maricopa fell for the third consecutive year. This occurred despite an increase in calls for service.
From 2008 to 2010 the number of calls for police service climbed from 16,392 to 17,189, while the number of arrests made by the department dipped from 1,384 to 1,131.
Examples of crimes that are not tracked by the FBI but that are included in arrest totals include graffiti, domestic violence and drug-related offenses.
“I think the decrease in crime can be related to people being more alert and better educated about preventing crime,” Fitch said.
Fitch added he thought the increase in calls showed both that the city was still growing and people were becoming more reliant on the police department.
Here is how the city of Maricopa’s crime rates per 100,000 people in 2010 compare to the 2009 rates for comparable cities, which are the latest figures available:
Apache Junction 7
Casa Grande 0
National average 5.4
Apache Junction 19
Casa Grande 10
National average 30
Apache Junction 99
Casa Grande 112
National average 145.3
Apache Junction 268
Casa Grande 427
National average 274.6
Apache Junction 1,020
Casa Grande 2,672
National average 730.8
Apache Junction 2,944
Casa Grande 4,072
National average 2,167
Apache Junction 665
Casa Grande 645
National average 314