A report by the Mesa Police Department indicates the total number of crimes committed within the city limits has dropped over the last seven years when compared to 2013 data.
During the department’s mid-year review press conference held on Aug. 7, Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead said the city’s overall crime rate — consisting of violent and property crimes — has decreased in recent years, and numbers provided by the department show an approximately 43 percent when comparing the January through June stretch of 2006 to the same six-month period in 2013. Every other year since 2006 has also seen at least an 8-percent drop in crime when compared to the 2013 numbers.
“We are happy to see our crime statistics are down,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.
The area in which the city has seen the largest decline is property crime, which encompasses burglary, larceny-theft and motor-vehicle theft. According to the statistics provided by the department, the number of property crimes has decreased in 2013 when compared to every year since 2006 by at least 9 percent, with a max of approximately 46 percent when comparing 2006 to this year’s numbers.
The one area that hasn’t seen a significant drop since 2009 is violent crimes, which cover aggravated assault, forcible rape, murder and robbery and are reported to the FBI for the formation of its uniform crime reports. While the rates are lower in 2013 when compared with the data 2006 through 2009 and, slightly, in 2012, the 2013 figures are higher than the numbers in 2010 and were the same when compared to 2011.
Mesa Police spokesperson Sgt. Tony Landato said one of the factors that could have gone into the shift is a possible increase in the rape figures tied to a change in the FBI’s definition of the crime, although neither Milstead nor Landato knew definitively if the rape figures went up or not. According to the FBI’s website, the definition the agency began to use in January 2013 is more inclusive than previous iterations and entails, “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
One of the tactics Milstead said the department has taken in recent years to diminish the crime rate is to split the city up into geographically based districts and splitting those districts into hot spots where a high proportion of crimes occur. Of the sectors the department covers, Milstead said the “lion share” of the work is done within the Red Mountain district.
“It’s our biggest patrol district,” he added.
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