Crime Rates Down in West Phoenix
A program called the Neighborhood Safety Initiative is credited with helping lower crime in West Phoenix in the area bounded by Indian School and Bethany Home roads and 43rd Avenue to Interstate 17.
One historically popular tactic to lower crime simply involves increasing arrests and incarceration in high crime areas. This tactic seems simple to implement and has the most immediate results. Unfortunately, it may not be the best long term solution to reducing crime as many who go to prison for relatively minor offenses find it hard to adjust to normal life once released and can hence have a high rate of repeat offense and re-incarceration. Plus, because Arizona’s prisons already have their fill of inmates more arrests may only lead to the need to release other offenders to make room. Fortunately, there are other more positive ways to help reduce crime.
A program called the Neighborhood Safety Initiative was started approximately three years ago between Phoenix police and Grand Canyon University, with each contributing $500,000 to fund the program. This funding was used to provide overtime hours for officers to help increase police presence but, more importantly, is also being used to fund programs that provide incentives for students to open up businesses in the area and employ local residents, to fund a center that matches college students with local kids needing tutoring, and to fund programs that try to get to the root of crime rather than just fighting crime.
All of this work has led to results. This area has seen crime rates decrease in 2015 by roughly 24% for violent crime and 20% for property crimes. This has happened in the backdrop of the broader city of Phoenix where violent crime has increased by roughly 7% and property crime only decreased by about 3% over the same time period. Apparently, a concerted effort to address the causes of crime and provide programs that better a neighborhood can drive long term change and improvements.