City: Chandler 2019 crime rate hit new low - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

City: Chandler 2019 crime rate hit new low

February 4th, 2020 development
City: Chandler 2019 crime rate hit new low


The city of Chandler is reporting that 2019 experienced some of the lowest crime rates in recent history.

There were 22.8 criminal offenses committed last year for every 1,000 Chandler residents, according to data released by Chandler Police. Ten years earlier, the per capita crime rate was 32.6 – and the city had 10,000 fewer residents.

Chandler’s crime rate has been on a downward trajectory since the early 2000s, with the exception of 2016 seeing a slight boost in robberies and thefts.

According to the city’s data, Chandler reported four homicides in 2019, 102 robberies, 353 aggravated assaults, 547 burglaries, 4,458 thefts, and 17 cases of arson.

In 2007, the city reported 10 homicides, 246 robberies, 517 assaults, 5,871 thefts, and 68 cases of arson.

When Police Chief Sean Duggan took over the department in 2014, his first strategic goal was to prevent crime by exploring new technology and making officers more visible in the community.

The agency’s boosted its presence on social media over the years, using the platform to publicize public awareness campaigns.

The agency previously said these simple reminders to lock vehicles and homes have helped to significantly reduce property crime in the city.

Chandler reported about 100 fewer burglaries in 2019 than the previous year, yet the number of stolen vehicles increased by 60.

Chandler Police has additionally tried to provide more options for how residents report or track crime. It publishes crime data on its website and allows citizens to contact 911 dispatchers via text message.

The agency has one crime-prevention officer stationed at each of Chandler’s three stations who help educate the public how not to fall victim to crimes and assist residents in establishing Neighborhood Watch programs.

In 2017, the agency started a program teaching local dog walkers how to spot and report suspicious behavior in their neighborhoods.

That same year, Chandler Police gave away forensic kits that allowed residents to apply an invisible solution to their property, which would help police locate it if stolen.

Ring also has become a new crime-fighting tool for Chandler police.

In police Commander Ed Upshaw’s south Chandler district, Ring has helped police nab a stalker, porch pirates swiping Amazon packages – even a couple of Amazon delivery workers caught stealing packages they supposedly delivered or a previously delivered.

Chandler police also used the Ring to bust another sort of ring – a carload of teens from Phoenix who jumped out of a car early in the morning and opened the doors of unlocked, park cars to steal whatever valuables they could find.

“We have used it on multiple cases. It is a valuable tool our agency uses,’’ Upshaw said. “It’s 2019. It’s not the same world you lived in in 1970. The world has changed. You are under constant surveillance.’’

All these programs and initiatives are aimed at making the public more aware of their surroundings and could have played a role in making Chandler a safer city.

Violent crimes started to climb in Chandler during the mid 2000s as gang activity started to become more prevalent across the city.

Public fear started to escalate in late 2006 after a 19-year-old woman was killed in a drive-by shooting outside a home on Erie Street.

A few months later, Chandler Police formed a specialized unit to crack down on gang activity.

Since then, criminal offenses have plummeted from 8,826 annually to 5,994.

Chandler City Councilman Matt Orlando said the police department does a great job at preventing crime and noted how the city’s response times improved in 2019.

The average citywide response time decreased from nearly six minutes at the start of 2019 to about 4.5 minutes by the end of the year.

Orlando said he regularly tracks the city’s response time and believes the addition of another police beat in the city’s southern region has helped reduce Chandler’s average time to less than five minutes, the industry’s ideal response time.

“The residents deserve it,” the councilman said. “If five minutes is our metric, then we should be hitting it.”

Orlando further noted how Chandler’s recent use of civilian employees to help officers complete administrative work has helped the agency operate more efficiently.

Like other agencies in the Valley, Chandler Police have non-sworn police aides who respond to non-emergency calls to help interview witnesses and write reports.

Orlando thinks these civilian positions are freeing up the officer’s time to get back to patrolling or responding to other calls.