Business Insider ranks Chandler as nation’s ninth safest city - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Business Insider ranks Chandler as nation’s ninth safest city

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Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 5:30 pm | Updated: 2:27 pm, Fri Aug 9, 2013.

A recent study conducted by Business Insider has the City of Chandler ranked as the ninth safest city in the country.

The article, which uses data from 2012 compiled by the FBI, compares municipalities with a population of at least 200,000 people to see which ones have violent crime rates — split into murder, robbery and rape — well below the national average. Taking the top spot on the list is Irvine, Calif., which has remained No. 1 for nine years straight, and Fremont, Calif., came in second.

Almost half of the municipalities on the list are in the southwest, and Arizona has two cities that finished in the top 10: Scottsdale at No. 6 and Chandler at No. 9.

“We’re just thrilled to be rated that high,” said Chandler Police Department public information officer Sgt. Joseph Favazzo.

According to the article, Chandler earned its spot because of a low murder rate that was 65-percent lower than the national average in 2012. That’s been true of Chandler in the last few years, as Favazzo said the city, “generally has a low rate of homicide.”

After hitting 10 such cases in 2007, Favazzo said the city hasn’t had more than eight murders in a year since, and has seen a drop to three incidents and two incidents in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Favazzo added the city hasn’t had a murder case in 2013 as of Aug. 7.

Similarly, Favazzo said the city has seen a 40-percent decrease in robbery in that time span — the study said Chandler’s robbery rate is 46-percent lower than the national average — and a 12-percent drop in theft.

“From 2007 to 2012, we saw a nice, fairly steady decline in a lot of crime,” he said.

The one area Chandler doesn’t score as high in the study on is rape — the city’s rate was just 1-percent lower than the national average, which coincides with the 3.2-percent increase Favazzo said the city has seen during that six-year stretch. However, he said the bump in the rape totals could reflect an increase in the number of such incidents reported to the department.

Another crime that saw an increase in Chandler is arson, as Favazzo said the city had 78 such cases in 2012, although he said at least six stemmed from one person who engaged in a spree in Chandler that also spilled into Mesa.

Favazzo said a few factors went into Chandler’s overall drop in crime rate and placement on the list, among them an improved connection with the community at large through block watches and frequent appearances by a Chandler officer on an Univision affiliate. He said the latter has produced a number of benefits for the department, among them an increased faith in the Chandler Police from the city’s Hispanic population.

The connection with the community also had a hand in the drop in the murder rate in the last three years. In 2009, Favazzo said five of the six murder cases involved children age 2 and under who were killed by guardians, and the nature of those cases spurred a drive to curb incidents of child abuse in the city.

Another reason he cited is the department’s involvement in the East Valley Fusion Center, which has police departments across the East Valley coordinate to compile information and investigate crimes. An example Favazzo cited was a case where the department investigated 14 incidents of tire and rim thefts in the city and ended up working with the Phoenix Police Department, which had a similar rash of crimes in Ahwatukee, to find the person who committed the thefts.

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