Paradise Valley home burglary rates remain steady as department overhaul continues

Paradise Valley police officials say more burglary arrests are being made and response times have been reduced due to new efforts at the public safety entity. (file photo)

Paradise Valley police officials say more burglary arrests are being made and response times have been reduced due to new efforts at the public safety entity. (file photo)

While the frequency at which home burglaries are occurring within Paradise Valley town limits remains flat compared to historical numbers, police officials say more than half of all home burglaries result from unlocked doors and unset alarms.

But police officials also say response times for priority 1 calls for service — including a home burglary —  has been reduced to under 5 minutes on average, which they say is primarily the result of the creation of three police substations.

“Our burglary trend is down during June and July, actually,” said Paradise Valley Police Chief Peter Wingert in a July 12 statement. “The three-year average is flat compared to this year.”

The numbers show in the month of June there were four reported home burglaries in the Town of Paradise Valley while there were seven reported that same time last year. So far this calendar year there have been 32 reported burglaries year-to-date, and three of those cases have been solved, according to data provided to Independent Newsmedia.

Over the last three years the numbers show:

  • In June 2013 there were 34 reported home burglaries year-to-date and seven of those crimes had been solved;
  • In June 2014 there were 24 reported home burglaries year-to-date and nine of those crimes had been solved;
  • In June 2015 there were 37 reported home burglaries year-to-date and seven of those crimes has been solved.

The three-year average for home burglaries occurring in Paradise Valley is 32 with an average of 8 those burglary cases being solved annually, numbers show.

Those numbers show a contrast to the height of burglary paranoia in the Town of Paradise Valley as the municipality saw a spike of home burglaries ultimately spurring a department-wide overhaul and the creation of a resident advisory committee.

The Paradise Valley Public Safety Task Force was comprised of more than 50 residents who participated regularly over an 11-week period toward the end of calendar year 2012. The advisory committee, at the time, came on the heels of a series of home burglaries — 11 of the 54 reported in 2012 occurring over the last 60 to 90 days of the year.

The public safety task force turned over six recommendations in early 2013 ranging from a request to “provide and sustain necessary patrol division staffing levels,” to asking for the creation of a rolling five-year strategic plan focused on community policing principles created by the police department.

Paradise Valley Community Resource Officer Kevin Albert says changes spurred by the 2012 advisory committee, along with new marching orders from Chief Wingert, is making a difference in town’s No. 1 legal issue: property crime.

“With Chief Wingert, what he has done, is he has implemented a policy that officers, when they are assigned to their beats, they have to stay in their beat,” Officer Albert said in a July 13 phone interview.

“We have created substations in our three beats in town. That has made a huge difference in response times. We have improved our response times by about one-third for emergency, priority one calls for service.”

A product of change

Paradise Valley Councilwoman Maria Syms, who serves as chairwoman of the Advisory Committee on Public Safety, says the holistic change at the police department is a combination of factors.

Maria Syms

Maria Syms

“I think town leadership’s recognition that public safety is our No. 1 priority has gone a long way to improving the quality of our policing in recent years,” she said in a July 14 statement.

“We now have more officers in the field, better technology in the form of computers and license plate readers in the patrol cars, which allows our officers to spend more time actually patrolling, and more community outreach and education.”

Councilwoman Syms says better communication between resident and department has been in paramount in the effectiveness of the community policing program instituted by Chief Wingert.

“We have better communication with the police of our neighbor cities Scottsdale and Phoenix, which helps increase our prevention and apprehension rates,” she pointed out. “When it comes to public safety, there are a lot of elements that all need to be working together in order to address crime and provide our residents with the peace of mind they deserve.”

Councilwoman Syms says Paradise Valley police officers are doing their jobs — and the numbers confirm that assessment.

“Our police officers work hard every day to keep us safe and protect our homes and our community should continue do everything it can to provide them the support they need to do their jobs effectively,” she said. “On behalf of the town, I want to take this opportunity to express our thanks for the dedication and sacrifice of our men and women in blue.”

Officer Albert says inter-department communication has been a key factor in making more burglary arrests as opportunistic criminals don’t care what jurisdiction they are in.

“We are constantly talking to the Phoenix police, with Scottsdale and the sheriff’s office. We want to know what is going on around us,” he said. “This is now a weekly meeting and because of that we have been able to make more arrests.”

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