A meeting meant to help residents learn about crime and fraud prevention turned into a tough questions-and-answers session for Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and other Phoenix officials Monday night in Ahwatukee Foothills.
About 100 residents came to the meeting at the Desert Vista High School cafeteria armed with tough questions for Goddard, who was joined on a panel by Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris and Phoenix City Councilman Greg Stanton.
Goddard opened the meeting saying he wanted special emphasis to be put on prevention of crime and fraud, and discussed topics such as identity theft and consumer fraud.
Harris and Stanton also addressed the group briefly, discussing topics such as methamphetamine abuse, gang activity and the future of the police presence in Ahwatukee Foothills.
“We don’t want anyone to be the victim of any crime, anywhere in the community,” Harris said.
Attendees were then allowed to ask questions, but very few were focused on prevention.
Many of the people who spoke shared personal experiences with crime such as property theft and sexual assault, and some felt that their concerns were not being properly handled by Phoenix officials or the Goddard’s office.
Other residents spoke about more general issues such as illegal immigration and racial profiling, asking broad questions that the panel had difficulty addressing.
After the meeting, many attendees were not satisfied with what was discussed.
“I think they should get more questions from the public,” said Rich Osiol, an Ahwatukee Foothills resident. “I wanted to know about the use of police resources.”
Elaine Neuman, 53, thought the meeting was informative, but said it could have been handled better.
“I was here to listen and learn,” Neuman said. “But they seemed to back away from the hard hitting issues.”
This was the fifth meeting in the Crime and Fraud Prevention series being held by Goddard’s office. The next forum is scheduled to take place in Sierra Vista.