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I guess this is the right spot for this article. I just read it, thought it was interesting.


PHOENIX -- It's not uncommon to hear city officials brag when their crime rates drop, but Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris says this time around is a little unique.

"It is unusual to have significant crime decreases in a major city during very difficult economic times," said Harris.

According to the Phoenix Police Department, violent crime and property crime rates have fallen over the past year. The police department recorded a 14.5 percent drop in aggravated assaults, 19.1 percent drop in robberies, 41.2 percent drop in motor vehicle thefts and a 16.9 percent drop in burglaries.

"This is due to the hard work of the men and women of this department, this is not by a single person or unit, it's a lot of hard work," said Harris.

The Phoenix Police Department is the largest police agency in the state with 4,356 employees covering 518 square miles.

According to department officials, officers answer on average 780,000 calls for service.

"That means, for every one of those calls an officer physically responds and our average response time is about four minutes," said Harris.

Despite the decrease in crime rates, Harris says the department is moving forward with changes to the weapons officers carry.

"We upgraded from the Glock .40 caliber that they were carrying to the option of the Glock .45 (caliber)," said Harris.

Department officials say not every officer is making a change of the caliber of handgun they carry.

Harris also said a committee that evaluates the department's rifle program recommended an increase in the number of rifles available to patrol officers.

"This is something that does not effect special units like the SWAT team, this is for patrol units," said Harris.

In the past, the department had roughly 60-rifles or ten per precinct according to Harris.

"The recommendation was to double that to 120 rifles," said Harris. "We're going to end up with about 250 now."

According to a department spokesperson, funding for the rifles came from the passing of Proposition 1 in 2007 and financial donations.

However, not every officer will have access to the guns, which according to department officials, are AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.

Harris says the firearms committee evaluates the weapons officers carry and who gets them.

"They must go through training," said Harris. "It's a 40 hour block of instruction that they have to go through to be qualified to be able to carry the weapon."

According to a department spokesperson, officers are not allowed to use their personal weapons, such as rifles, on the job.

The passing of Proposition 1 may also be credited with the fall in the crime rates considering the tax dollars helped the department hire additional people.

"Prop 1 added 400 sworn personnel to the police department," said Harris.

The Chief admitted there are several open positions within the department that have not yet been filled, citing budget restraints.

Harris said the department has delayed certain equipment, halted some projects and has re-allocated personnel to fill voids left from those who have retired.

As far as the fall in various crime rates, Harris said the arrests of "career criminals" and repeat offenders has much to do with the statistics.


P.S. That .45 round just wont die will it.:image035:
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