Frank Milstead

Mesa Police Department chief Frank Milstead speaks during the department's mid-year review on Aug. 7, 2013. [Eric Mungenast/Tribune]

An annual crime report issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) shows Mesa’s continued decline in crime rate has made it one of the safest cities of its size in regards to certain crimes.

According to the FBI’s 2012 Uniformed Crime Report, Mesa ranked third in the nation for cities with a population of at least 400,000 when it comes to violent and property crimes. Those two crime classifications, which fall into the FBI’s Part 1 category, include homicide, burglary, rape, theft, robbery, stolen vehicles and aggravated assault.

According to a press release sent out by the Mesa Police Department, the city ranks at the third lowest in violent crime rates and the fourth lowest in property crimes, giving the city a composite rating of the third lowest in Part 1 composite rating.

“I think it’s a reflection of our community as a whole,” said Mayor Scott Smith.

In the release, District 3 Councilmember Dennis Kavanaugh, who chairs the Mesa City Council’s public safety committee, said credit goes to the Mesa Police Department for its incorporation of “intelligence-led policing” and other policies meant to help prevent crimes from occurring.

“I could not be more proud of the outstanding work being done by the men and women of the Mesa Police Department and we will continue to support them by giving them the assets and resources necessary to keep our city safe,” he said.

Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead stated in the release the department has also relied on community partnership to prevent crime, adding the police have forged a strong relationship with the community at large.

“With the trust and support of a community all things are possible,” he said. “Without these, little can be accomplished. We value greatly the strong relationship we enjoy with the citizens of Mesa and recognize that this success is as much theirs as it is ours.”

The rating falls in line with a report issued by the city earlier this year in which Milstead said the violent and property crime rates have dropped ever year except one since 2006. Property crime has undergone a particularly large decrease over that seven-year stretch, with a drop of at least 9 percent every year during that span.

Conversely, violent crimes have only dropped slightly during that span, although police spokesperson Sgt. Tony Landato said a change in the FBI’s definition of rape could have affected those figures. The FBI changed the definition in January 2013 to be more inclusive and entails “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

The figures presented by the department earlier this year cover the mid-year 2013 figures, which is one reason why the department, in the release, indicates Mesa’s continued “historic lows in crimes” will continue with a drop in the 2013 numbers when compared with 2012.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-5647 or

Contact writer: (480) 898-5647 or


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