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DIGGING DEEPER: Pima County Crime Rundown

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PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. - Is Pima County safe? The Pima County Sheriff's Department recently released numbers showing their total calls for service in 2019.

News 4 Tucson’s Digging Deeper team has been crunching those numbers.

The PCSD reports break down all of the sheriff's department calls for service for the past four years.

They show a downward trend in the most serious crimes over the past several years.

Pima County’s numbers reflect the overall national trend, according to Sheriff Mark Napier.

“I think that our personnel are really taking an ownership over crime. If you commit a crime in Pima County, we're coming after you, and we'll be unapologetic about that,” said Napier.

In 2019, PCSD deputies dealt with more than 129,000 calls for service, calls dealing with everything from stolen property and fraud, to robbery and homicide.

Overall, major crimes including homicides, sexual assaults and robberies were down 4.6 percent from the previous year.

Over the past four years, major crimes were down more than 8.5 percent.

“We're very proud of the fact that crime across the board, both part on crime - those would be the most serious crimes, and part two crimes, which are generally property crimes, are all down across the board in Pima County and they have been for the last couple of years,” said Sheriff Napier.

Sheriff Napier told the Digging Deeper team: While some parts of the county do have a higher amount of calls for service, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a crime hot-spot.

“We know some places based on population density are going to generated more calls for service due to socio-economic factors and other factors,” said Napier. ”Some areas are going to produce more crimes than others.”

Sheriff Napier said he's proud of the fact that his department answers every call, even in rural areas of Pima County and he believes that has helped keep crime numbers down.

“I’m pleased with the numbers, but you know, you can never become complacent,” said Napier. “The environment is very challenging, and we've got to stay vigilant and stay committed to controlling crime in Pima County.”

Despite the lower crime numbers, he’s still very concerned about the amount of drugs coming up from the border.

“When I was a street cop, if you interdicted two ounces of met, you thought you had a great bust,” said Napier. “We're now doing 50 to 60 pounds of meth. Several months ago, two deputies interdicted 13,000 fentanyl pills in one stop, so this is a serious, serious problem.”

That’s not all...     

“The other thing that keeps me up at night honestly are injuries and fatal traffic accidents. They are way too high,” said Napier.

In 2019, there were nearly 9,000 so-called “part one” crimes reported in Pima County.

Those are the most serious offenses. That number was down from just over 9,400 in 2018 and 9,700 the year prior.

Sheriff Napier credits the hard work of deputies and a strong economy for the lower crime numbers.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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