Scottsdale seventh safest city in the country

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Scottsdale has dropped from number five to number seven on the list of safest cities in the country; however the public safety department is not overly concerned, according to Public Information Officer Kevin Watts.

“When we consistently have low numbers for violent crime rates, it’s easy to notice when those rates go up. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why the increase is occurring,” said Watts.

According to Law Street Media, in 2014 Scottsdale was the fifth safest city in the country, with only 147 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, and a murder rate of 0.13 per every 100,000 people. So far in 2015, Scottsdale has dropped to the seventh safest city, with 149 violent crimes for every 100,000 people and a murder rate of four per 100,000 people. 

These numbers are marginal and have not dropped Scottsdale out of the top 10. Residents have not felt their effect, according to Larry and Donna Warren. The Warrens, retired dentists living in north Scottsdale, say over all they live in a very safe area.

“We don’t feel threatened or in any danger at all,” Larry Warren said. The Warrens have had a few falsely triggered alarms, but other than that, they “haven’t had much need to interact with the police, and when they did respond to our false alarms they respond quickly and were very helpful,” Donna Warren said.

According to Watts, “The key to Scottsdale consistently being high in the rankings is that the public service is very tuned in and participates in neighborhood watch.” The Warrens speak highly of the neighborhood watch group in their north Scottsdale community, saying it is “very productive.”

Along with neighborhood watch, Watts said each district of Scottsdale has a crime prevention officer and a crime prevention aide who “wear a lot of hats, but are responsible for community outreach.” These officers and aides become aware of where the problems are and are not, and with only a few assigned to each district, they are familiar with specific crime trends in their area, bringing “small town policing to a big city,” Watts stated.

When it comes to other aspects of community outreach besides enforcement, Watts said “we run the gamut.” The crime prevention department offers a program called Crime Free Multi-Housing, in which staff of rental communities take training provided by the police department to become aware and notice signs of danger in their communities Watts said. They learn a screening process and have the ability to remove the “bad apples.” Watts added they learn to pay attention to how their communities are lit, which types of locks to use, where the mailboxes are located and how the parking lot is set up. 

As for forms of outreach available to all members of the public, Watts said “the way people want their information is changing.” The Police Department hands out media materials and updates their website frequently, but is also on Twitter and Facebook. They also use RAIDS online which Watts said is a “fantastic tool.” RADIS online is a website which gives viewers a “pretty accurate snapshot of what’s going on in the city,” Watts stated.

The Police Department also offers face-to-face interactions with the public. According to Watts crime prevention officers talk to senior citizens, schools, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts, and offers “Book ‘em,” an opportunity for officers to read to preschool students, as well as “Shop With A Cop.”

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