You have to use the Interwebs to find out this stuff, because our local media hasn't noticed that:
- According to the FBI crime statistics, incidence of violent crime is down in Arizona over the past two years--dramatically
- According to Arizona Department of Public Safety statistics, violent crime--murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault--is down for the third consecutive year, down 15% from the 2006 peak and still 12% lower than when DPS started putting the statistics online in 2000
- That crime statistics in incorporated cities in Maricopa County--Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale--show significant drops, while crime is increasing (along with response times) in unincorporated Maricopa County, the responsibility of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
You should read the whole thing, because Dara Lind, subbing for Matthew Yglesias, has got the statistical goods on this "massive crime wave" BS, but here's the conclusion:
So: Crime is down. The numbers of illegal immigrants in Arizona is down. The number of illegal border crossings is down. The number of Border Patrol officers is up, significantly. I get otherwise decent liberals believing in bizarre anti-immigrant urban legends. When did everyone start taking crazy pills?
As far as I see it, there are two possibilities here. The first is that Arpaio really has been fighting a "crime wave" committed by a bunch of "criminal aliens" who are deliberately avoiding the border region, hanging out in Maricopa County and taking care to commit their crimes outside city limits. Even if this were plausible, it wouldn’t speak terribly well to the effectiveness of Arpaio’s tactics.
Alternatively, of course, it could be the case that other law-enforcement officials in the state (from the chief of Tucson to the sheriffs of Pima and Santa Cruz Counties) are correct when they warn that Arpaio-like, 1070-like tactics cause crime to increase. Police officers who are forced to prioritize immigration enforcement have less time to investigate violent crime, and less help from immigrant and Latino victims and witnesses when they do. Indeed, as Conor Friedersdorf pointed out a few weeks ago, there’s plenty of evidence that Arpaio’s office has let its attention to public safety slip: the average wait time in Maricopa County for response to 911 calls is ten minutes, and arrest rates have fallen dramatically over the last decade and a half. To recap: more crimes, fewer arrests. What a role model!
It's hard not to conclude that Arizona is engaging in "worst practices"-based governance, that the Crime in Arizona 2010 report will reverse the trends of the last few years and turn the much-hyped "crime wave" into a self-fulfilling prophecy.