Paradise Valley’s top cop unveils 2016 annual report

Peter Wingert. (File photo)

Paradise Valley Police Chief Peter Wingert has released an annual activity report for 2016 highlighting reported crime, traffic accidents, burglary, safety procedures and goals the local police force is implementing to keep Paradise Valley safe.

“During the past calendar year, the key word has been planning,” Chief Wingert said in his opening report address.

In February 2016, Chief Wingert presented to Paradise Valley Town Council a strategic plan based on Public Safety Task Force recommendations, which the department is continuing working toward completion of the goals outlined within.

The challenges the town faces, says Chief Wingert, is the increase in people and traffic as a result of new resorts opening up within the municipality in coming months.

The goals outlined within the annual report are:

  1. Reduce crime and the fear of crime;
  2. Encourage community empowerment;
  3. Develop and empower department personnel;
  4. Incorporate technology into the department;
  5. Review and improve work product.

Community outreach identified in the report that PVPD participates includes Coffee with a Cop and Blue Wednesday, where officers have an opportunity to build relationships with the school children of Paradise Valley. Blue Wednesdays started in September 2015, and five meetings were conducted. In 2016, 19 meetings were conducted at local schools. Coffee with a Cop saw a decrease in 2016, with only six meetings conducted.

Reported crime shows that “Part I Crimes” are up to 269 occurrences from 252 in 2015, and theft is up to 172 occurrences from 133 in 2015; whereas burglary is down to 57 occurrences from 70 in 2015; and assault is down to 24 from 25 in 2015.

Traffic data shows traffic collisions have a three-year average of 188 per year. Traffic contact with warnings and citations have a three year average of 2,466, with there being 4,952 in 2016 and 2,178 in 2015.

Citizen calls for service has increased by nearly 50 percent in 2016, with 44,651 calls for service last year and 29,789 in 2015. The three year average of calls for service is 27,377.

The Paradise Valley Police Department is at 6433 E Lincoln Drive. (File photo)

The annual report shows priority one calls, those which have an imminent danger to life or a major damage or loss to property, have a response time of 3:35 minutes from the dispatch call to officer arrival. This time is down, from 4:45 minutes in 2015.

Priority two calls are also down by 36 seconds from 2015, with the department’s current time as 5:15 minutes from dispatch call to officer arrival. Priority two calls are those in which a crime in progress might result in a threat of injury to a person, or immediate apprehension of a suspect.

In the realm of crime prevention the police department is working to conduct more public outreach to educate residents.

“In an effort to reduce victimization of our residents, the police department made a push for public education and crime prevention during 2016,” Chief Wingert said. “The results of that public education can be seen in the reduction of residential burglaries by nearly 20 percent, the recovery of stolen property by over 150 percent, and the number of community meetings we have initiated.”

In 2016, there were 102 home security reviews conducted, a 70.5 percent increase from the prior year.

The police department has also ramped up its use of technology.

“The use of technology will never replace an officer on the street responding to citizens’ calls for assistance,” Chief Wingert said in the report.

“However, the appropriate use of technology can and will enhance the ability of the officer and other department personnel to meet the needs of our citizens more efficiently, effectively and quickly. The appropriate type and use of technology can enhance citizen and officer safety, identify crime trends and patters, and improve traffic safety.”

In 2016 there were 90 license plate reader cases, whereas in 2015 there were 32 cases.

Town investigators were assigned 322 total cases in 2016, with an average of 31.5 open investigations per person, according to the report. In 2015 there were 537 assigned investigative cases, with an average of 18.25 open cases per investigator. The department recovered $155,518 worth of stolen property.

Lastly, the report states each police officer has experienced in increase in incidents. An incident is defined in the report as a call for service, which are anytime an officer conducts any activity.

In 2016 each officer averaged 1,717.35 incidents. In 2015, the officers had 1,191.56 incidents each, with one less police officer on staff.

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