Mesa’s serious crimes fell 5 percent overall from 2006 to 2007, and fatal traffic collisions decreased by almost half. But robberies, aggravated assaults and arsons increased.
Mesa police Chief George Gascón highlighted the city’s public safety improvements in 2007 during a news conference Thursday.
“We really focused on two things,” Gascón said. “We wanted to reduce Part I crimes ... and the other thing we wanted to focus on is traffic safety.”
Part I crimes are serious crimes listed in the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report. Last year, the city had 51.2 crimes per 1,000 Mesa residents. The rate dropped to about 48 per 1,000 residents in 2007. Still, Gascón said the rate should be closer to 32 or 33 per 1,000 residents to match cities such as New York and Los Angeles.
“This is a good news/bad news story,” Gascón said. “We have a long way to go.”
Crimefighting technology added
• COPLINK, helps link records and police information from different agencies together to solve crimes
• Wireless connectivity to patrol vehicles
• License plate readers and five new bait cars
• Fusion Center, an information-sharing center for the East Valley
Additions to keep officers safe
• 28 new Tasers
• Armored vehicle
• 40 new black and white patrol cruisers
• Personal protective equipment such as air purifying respirators and protective suits
Partnerships with other groups
• Making Every Student Accountable, program to keep at-risk youth out of gangs
• Community forums where various ethnic groups, businesses and senior citizens can work with police
• Regular community meetings in areas where crime spikes.
• Ongoing partnerships with federal authorities to go after serious offenders.