Officer Tim Mitten
Community Action Officer
Black Mountain Precinct
Phoenix Police Department

I hope everyone is healthy and staying safe as we manage our way through the COVID–19 situation and work towards reopening the economy. Once again, it is time for a yearly reporting of the Uniform Crime Reports crime statistics for the Desert Ridge Community Association. These crime statistics cover the entire residential community of Desert Ridge. This is defined as the residential areas from Pinnacle Peak south to the 101 Freeway, 36th Street to 56th Street, and does not include the Desert Ridge Marketplace, High Street, JW Marriott Resort, or any of the commercial locations.
Our Crime Analysis Unit compiles the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics. The Phoenix Police Department reports our official statistics to the Federal government according to the Uniform Reporting Criteria (UCR), which are not equivalent to Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) statistics or other types. Under the hierarchy rule of UCR, only the most severe offense of an incident and counted, so if there is a Homicide after a Burglary, only the Homicide is counted. There are four Part One Violent Crimes that are counted, such as Homicide, Rape, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault (counted individually by the victim). There are four Part One Property Crimes that are counted are Stolen Vehicles, Arson, Theft, and Burglary (which includes residential, commercial, and burglary from vehicles). In January 2014, the FBI changed the UCR Rape category definition, which changed a couple of years’ statistics.

Off-Duty officer patrol program
I wanted to update everyone on the Off-Duty officer patrol program, and its history as when it began is where much of our analysis and averages are used from. The Off-Duty patrol program started in late 2011 out of Desert Ridge residents’ concerns over Property Crime and the impact it was having on the community. Your Community Association in working with the Phoenix Police Department then hired Phoenix Police officers in December of 2011 to patrol the Desert Ridge area as an addition to the regular police patrol functions provided by on-duty officers. These are officers working in a fully marked police vehicle, in uniform, and the same powers, rules, and procedures as on-duty personnel, just are paid by your Community Association. Having these officers in the Desert Ridge area specifically as a presence to reduce crime, provide an immediate response to calls for service, and act as a deterrent for not just Property Crimes but many other issues. It is important to note that these shifts worked by the Off-Duty officers are not 24 / 7 coverage and as of this writing, 25, 5.5 hour shifts per month. The schedule as far as the day of week and times vary and is not publicly released prior to the shifts being done to remain as private as we can. There are primary days of the week and hours we do work to be in align with what we were hired to do.

The table shows the UCR statistics from 2008 to 2019, as it is vital to show statistics before and after the program. I am fully aware that numbers can be averaged many ways, so I calculated averages for the duration of the Off-Duty program to compare with previous years of the program and the years before the Off-Duty program began. You can then see for yourself what has been occurring. It is also important to note that crime will never be eliminated and is very cyclical in behavior as it’s impacted by many factors beyond our control.
The last column of the table shows the averages from 2012 to 2019, which are the full years the Off-Duty program has been in effect. Property Crimes totals for 2019 were below the 8-year average in all categories except for Auto Thefts (Stolen Vehicles). The Burglary and Theft reduction was significant and is something everyone should be happy about. It’s a combination of efforts by both the community and the Phoenix Police Department to make this successful. Both the overall Property Crime and Total Crime numbers also had significant reductions. These are outstanding numbers and we need to continue with these efforts to maintain the safety and security of the community. This includes everyone watching out for each other, practicing common sense crime prevention (maybe starting a Block Watch), and marked police vehicle presence.

Some other information regarding the Off-Duty program for 2019 is that there were 316 shifts worked throughout the year, 14605 miles driven, 269 Calls for Service answered, 21 tickets issued, 5 arrests made, and over 2800 vacation watches completed.
As a reminder, one of the prevailing issues with most thefts and burglaries in the area, you may have heard from other officers and me repeatedly throughout the years. A large majority of thefts were from unsecured vehicles and open garages. These are very preventable crimes of opportunity, so please take a few moments and remove any valuables from your vehicles, roll up vehicle windows and lock the doors and keep your garages closed when not in use. By doing these simple things, we can reduce thefts and crimes of opportunity.
The Phoenix Police Department will continue to partner with the residents of Desert Ridge to ensure a high quality of life and provide a safe community for all. If anyone wants to start a Block Watch, would like a free home security inspection, and/or has any questions regarding these statistics, or anything else that is occurring in Desert Ridge, please feel free to call me at 602-495-5238, or email me at tim.mitten@phoenix.gov.