Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio vowed Friday night to reduce crime in a troubled county island in east Mesa where a family of five was gunned down and a girl was abducted.
For the next month, more than 300 sheriff’s deputies, SWAT team members and posse members will patrol the county island between Apache Junction and Mesa near Signal Butte Road and Apache Trail, officials said.
The policing action, which will increase patrols and the visibility of the sheriff’s office, will act as a deterrent to crime, Arpaio said.
"I want everybody to see us," he said. "I want to stop crime before it
To kick off the crimefighting blitz, which officially began at 6 p.m. Friday, the sheriff’s office showed off a helicopter and an armored personnel carrier.
Since the killings, Arpaio said that crime has plagued the neighborhood, and residents have called for the sheriff’s office to act.
In December, sheriff’s deputies arrested Kemp Horton on suspicion of gunning down his family at their home. On Thursday, authorities issued an Amber Alert for a neighborhood girl who was later found unharmed.
"I’m here because they want me here," Arpaio said.
However, some residents criticized the sheriff’s show of force.
"Other than a big show, what’s going to be done? " asked Linda Primozich, a 50-year-old resident of the county island.
Primozich, who said there is a lot of drugrelated crime in her neighborhood, hopes the stepped-up patrols will help, but said 30 days is not long enough to make a difference.
Andrew Meyer, 34, said that he was happy to see the sheriff, but he believes nothing will have changed at the end of the month.
Other residents were more optimistic.
"Maybe this is a start," said Mary Conway, who has lived in the neighborhood for about two years.
"It’s nice to see it."