There were fewer rapes, robberies and homicides in Mesa during the first eight months of this year than during that same period in 2006, according to police statistics released Wednesday.
Police Chief George Gascón credited the drop to a shift in strategy that targets serial and career criminals.
“We believe one of the primary reasons we have been able to lower crimes in the city is because we are focusing on the people committing most of the crimes,” Gascón said at a news conference.
Burglaries, thefts and the number of stolen vehicles also dropped, though aggravated assaults were up slightly, according to the statistics.
Overall, the figures amounted to a 5 percent drop in serious crimes — and a 24 percent jump in arrests for serious crimes.
Part of the strategy has included organizing community meetings whenever police see a rash of crimes in a neighborhood.
Assistant Chief John Meza said residents have been responding positively to the meetings.
“Our officers and personnel are working harder and they’re working smarter, and you know we’re just getting started,” Meza said.
Police also gave credit to their ability to crunch numbers and identify crime trends more quickly than before by using a system called CompStat, which Gascón adopted from his time at the Los Angeles Police Department.