Saying it is the biggest drop in crime in nearly 50 years, the Mesa Police Department on Wednesday released its crime statistics for the first nine months of the year, spotlighting a 39 percent drop in auto thefts and a 31 percent drop in homicides from a year ago at this time.
"We wouldn't be where we're at without our community partnerships," interim Mesa police Chief Vicki Myers said during a crowded press conference on Wednesday. "We're seeing our lowest number of police officers in 10 years. We are striving to be a well-balanced department. We're experiencing our biggest drop in crime since 1963."
Combined, violent crime - including homicide, aggravated assault, rape and robbery - saw a 16 percent drop in the first nine months of the year compared with the same time last year. There were 1,496 of those crimes in the first nine months of this year compared with 1,776 last year.
Residential burglary was the only category of crime that saw an increase: There were 1,679 in the first nine months of the year, an increase of 171 over the same time last year, or an 11 percent jump.
Myers said that Mesa is doing better than national crime averages.