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Posted on September 9, 2020 in Crime

Report: Phoenix Saw ‘Dramatic’ Rise in Violent Crime in 2020

New crime statistics released on August 5, 2020, by the Phoenix Police Department’s Crime Analysis and Research Unit reveal a sharp increase in the number of violent crimes in the first six months of 2020.

According to Sgt. Mercedes Fortune, there is not a definitive answer for why the rate of violent crimes has risen sharply while the rate for other types of crimes might have decreased. However, Sgt. Fortune said that the COVID-19 lockdown had some impact. People staying at home instead of being on the streets seems to have impacted some of the numbers.

Sharp increases in the number of violent crimes are not limited to Phoenix. Many cities across the country are experiencing similar increases in the number of violent crimes during the first part of 2020.

Violent Crimes by the Numbers in Phoenix

Three types of violent crimes analyzed by the Phoenix Police Department were:

Domestic Violence Homicides

Domestic violence homicides increased by 140 percent. During the first six months of 2019, there were ten domestic violence homicides reported in Phoenix. During the same period in 2020, there were 24 domestic violence homicides.

If you include the numbers through August 3, 2020, the rate of domestic violence homicides increased by 180 percent from the same period in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic could be a factor in the increase in this type of violent crime as more people stay home. Tension and frustration over money problems and health concerns can intensify an already dangerous and abusive situation.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assaults also increased substantially in 2020. Assaults can include a wide variety of crimes. Overall, the rate of assaults in 2020 increased by 25 percent.

In 42 percent of the cases, the perpetrator used a firearm as a weapon during the assault. The number is about the same for assaults involving hands, fists, or feet as weapons. In about 20 percent of the cases, other items were used to cause injury.

Burglary

Burglaries decreased in 2020. If the rate of burglary continues to decrease, there could be an annual decrease in the number of burglaries of 18 percent in 2020.

COVID-19 could be a factor in the decrease in the number of burglaries. People are working from home and staying at home more than they did in previous years. Therefore, the opportunity for burglary may not be as high in 2020 as it has been in past years.

Avoid Being the Victim of a Crime

The Phoenix Police Department has several resources that individuals and businesses can use to avoid being victims of crime. Several programs can help residents protect themselves and their neighborhoods. Neighborhood programs include:

  • Citizen Policy Academy
  • COPS Voluntary Opportunities
  • Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol
  • Virtual Block Watch
  • Block Watch Grants
  • Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods
  • Police Chief’s Advisory Boards

Business owners can access information to keep their businesses safe through the SafeBiz Network. Owners can also inquire about hiring off duty police officers to help patrol and protect their businesses from crimes.

Have You Been Arrested in Phoenix?

With an increase in the number of violent crimes, there is also an increase in the number of arrests. It is important to remember that a person is presumed innocent until the state proves the legal elements for a conviction. If the state cannot prove its case, the charges need to be dropped.

However, that is not always the case. If a person does not have a criminal defense attorney to provide legal counsel and assist with the defense, a person could go to jail unnecessarily.

The police officers and the prosecutors must obey the law. They cannot violate your legal rights or take shortcuts to obtain convictions. That does not mean that they cannot lie to you to get a confession or additional evidence to use against you.

That is why one of your most important rights is the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions or give the police officers a statement.

Once you provide your name and contact information, you are not required to say anything else. The police officers may continue to badger you with questions, make promises, or even threaten you, but you are not required to respond.

Your second most important right is the right to counsel. You have the right to talk with a criminal defense lawyer about your case.

Once you invoke your right to counsel, the police officers should stop questioning you. If they continue to question you, remain silent until you talk to a lawyer. Let your attorney handle the police officers and the prosecutor.

Everyone makes errors in judgment and mistakes. Regardless of what you have or have not done, you are entitled to have an attorney who is diligent, aggressive, and passionate about defending you against the criminal charges.