Blog Archives

Councilman Nowakowski Invites Residents to Crime Summit

[Source: City of Phoenix]

Councilman Michael Nowakowski will host his District 7 Crime Summit at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Phoenix Police Training facility, 10001 S. 15th Ave. The summit will bring together law enforcement personnel, city staff and local residents to discuss crime issues in their communities, police resources, Block Watch, Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol (PNP), and Blight and Graffiti Busters programs.

Speakers will include Public Safety Manager Jack Harris and a presentation on the Police Community Engagement and Outreach Task Force. Residents will be able to speak directly with the District 7 precinct commanders (Estrella, South Mountain, Maryvale and Squaw Peak police precincts) along with community action officers and code enforcement officers.

Event schedule:

  • 8 to 8:30 a.m. – Registration
  • 8:30 to 9 a.m. – Opening remarks from Councilman Nowakowski, Public Safety Manager Jack Harris and Assistant Police Chief Andy Anderson
  • 9 to 10 a.m. – Breakout sessions for each precinct area with community action officers, Block Watch representatives and Blight and Graffiti Busters
  • 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. – Panel discussion with representatives from the Police and Neighborhood Services departments, PNP and Block Watch
  • 11:30 to noon – Lunch, followed by an optional tour of the facility

Lunch will be provided (at no cost to city taxpayers). RSVPs are requested. To confirm your attendance, call the District 7 Office at 602-262-7492 or e-mail

Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot’s Monthly Meeting This Thursday

[Source: City of Phoenix]

Residents are invited to join Councilman Tom Simplot for his monthly meeting at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, at Park Central Deli, 3110 N. Central Ave. (located at the south end of Park Central Mall).

This month’s guest speakers are Cmdr. AB Smith of the Squaw Peak Precinct and Cmdr. Jeff Alexander, who oversees the Transit Bureau. Topics will include neighborhood crime issues and light rail transit safety. Residents also can discuss city issues with the Councilman.

To confirm your attendance, call the District 4 office at 602-262-7447, or respond by e-mail to


Phoenix ranks as 14th-safest U.S. city

[Source: Ofelia Madrid, Arizona Republic] — The Phoenix metropolitan area is considered the United States’ 14th-safest city, according to a recently released list.  The business magazine ranked the 40 largest metropolitan areas in America, based on four categories of danger.  Statistics included 2008 workplace-death rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; 2008 traffic death rates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; and natural-disaster risk, using rankings from green living site  Also considered was the FBI’s violent-crime rate from the bureau’s 2008 uniform crime report.

Phoenix-Scottsdale-Mesa finished just ahead of Chicago and Austin.  Phoenix metro had the fifth-lowest risk for a natural disaster.  Minneapolis topped this year’s list as the safest city in the United States, with the online magazine touting the city’s low crime rate.  Milwaukee ranked second with the lowest natural-disaster risk and Portland, Ore., ranked third, with the lowest crime rate of all the areas considered.  [Note: Read the full article at Phoenix ranks as 14th-safest U.S. city.]

KTVK parent Belo partners with SpotCrime for metro Phoenix coverage

[Source: Chris Casacchia, Phoenix Business Journal] — KTVK-TV Channel 3 is devoting much more coverage to local crimes on the air and on its Web site as it tries to strengthen market share and move toward harder news angles.  That strategy comes on the heels of a partneship extended by its parent, Belo Corp., and Baltimore-based SpotCrime, a data and news gatherer that maps crime around the world.  “With our information, citizens’ awareness of their surroundings will increase, and subsequently they will be able to make safer decisions,” said SpotCrime founder and President Colin Drane.

Belo stations in Charlotte, N.C., and Dallas-Fort Worth already use the company’s crime data.  SpotCrime works with more than 50 media companies across the country to make such information more readily available.  [Note: Read the full article at KTVK parent Belo partners with SpotCrime for metro Phoenix coverage.]

Viewpoint: Phoenix will rise from the ashes

[Source: Kit Stolz, Guest Contributor, Grist Magazine] — During a session called “Sustainability and Growth: How Can a City Develop Sustainably When its Identity is Built on Growth?” at the American Meteorological Society convention, a development expert named Grady Grammage colorfully dispelled some myths and revealed some little-known truths about Phoenix.  One myth: Phoenix is unsustainable because it imports water.  Virtually all cities import water, Grammage pointed out, even New York, not to mention countless other necessities for urban life, such as food, fuel, and steel.  Phoenix arguably has a more stable supply of water than numerous other cities, such as San Diego, because Phoenix imports its water from numerous sources, albeit at great distances.

In Grammage’s view, a bigger question is “habitability,” and he brought up the Urban Heat Island Effect, which he thinks, based on surveys, will drive more Phoenicians out of the state by 2020 than those who move in from other states.  Grammage reports that when he expressed this view, various public officials and “water buffaloes” — water experts — in Phoenix scoffed.  They think Phoenix could support as many as 10 million people — more than twice its current population.

But the climactic trends may have already been trumped by the economic trends.  According to a huge and thoroughly-substantiated front-page story in the Arizona Republic, Phoenix is already losing population — thousands of people — probably due to the economy.  Foreclosures are up a mind-blowing 534% from last year, while water hook-ups, trash collection, and sales tax revenues are all down sharply.  Substantial numbers of buildings have no water service, indicating abandonment, and sales tax revenues are down 8%.  Even crime has declined.

Already, the Phoenix city government has to try and close a 22% revenue gap of about $270 million, and if the state finds that the city is losing residents, it will cut its allocation of tax returns still further.  Perhaps this is why the mayor, Phil Gordon, scoffed at the reports of population decline. “The growth of Phoenix, like all cities in the Valley, has slowed significantly.  But Phoenix’s net growth is still positive, both in jobs and population,” he said.

Cognitive dissonance, anyone?  Or, is it just garden variety denial?  In any case, something is in the wind… as reflected in a sign I saw this morning in an empty storefront in downtown Phoenix.  Guess we’ll find out what kind of wind it is soon enough.

Phoenix is losing residents, signs say

[Source: Michael Clancy and Casey Newton, Arizona Republic] — For the first time in modern history, Phoenix’s population could be shrinking.  It’s an idea that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago, when Phoenix was surging up the list of the nation’s most populous cities.  Now, a variety of indicators suggest that fewer people are living here than a year ago.

No one knows for sure exactly how many people have moved in or out.  But with the 2010 census about to get under way, some indicators suggest Phoenix’s population may be smaller than the projected 1,636,170 people.  City records show declining trends in several key areas.  Among them:

  • Foreclosure numbers have skyrocketed, meaning fewer city homes are occupied.
  • Water hookups are down, suggesting the same.
  • Some aspects of trash collection have ebbed because fewer people are buying things that produce waste.
  • Crime has declined across the city while police are getting fewer calls for services, a possible indicator of fewer people.
  • Sales-tax revenues are likely to drop for the second year in a row, with this year’s collections off almost 8% from last year.

[Note: To read the full article, click here.]

SpotCrime maps Phoenix illegal happenings

phx-crime[Source: Lifehacker] — Crime-mapping mashup SpotCrime pulls data from city police records and news sources and plots it in an easy-to-snoop fashion. 

Choose a city, a time frame, and the types of offenses you want to see, and you can mouse over the pinned icons to see thumbnail descriptions, or click an item for a full read.  The site claims that humans are working in the background to make sense of the data, and that incidents show up anywhere from 3-24 hours after they’re reported.  A good tool for checking out a potential neighborhood for moving or exploring, or just keeping up on what’s going down across town.

So what happened on “Peace and Love Day” in Phoenix?

Pat Shannahan, Arizona RepublicOn July 31, Ringo Starr had fun backstage at the Dodge Theatre with Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon, who gave the drummer-singer a key to the city and a proclamation for “Peace and Love Day” before the ex-Beatle took the stage to bring smiles to an adoring audience spanning all ages. 

So what happened outside of Dodge Theatre on “Peace and Love Day” in Phoenix, Arizona? 

The next day, August 1, Phoenix’s Police Department did issue some very good news: Reductions in violent and property crimes for the first six months of 2008 were the largest decreases in more than 10 years.  Reported incidents of violent crime dropped 8.5% overall, homicides down 25.7%, aggravated assaults down 14.2%; property crimes down 10.4% overall, arson cases down 12%, and motor vehicle thefts down 29%.

Council members hold Phoenix crime summit

Crime scene [Source: Theresa Pace, Special to the Republic] — Phoenix residents and officials identified and addressed crime issues at a crime summit meeting at the Valley Garden Center Saturday morning.  The residents said blight, street vendors, block watches, theft, graffitisex-offenders, drug crimes, identity theft, and liquor licenses are the areas they are most concerned with.  District 4 councilman Tom Simplot and District 7 councilman Michael Nowakowski hosted the 5th Annual District 4 Crime Summit.  The meeting, which about 50 people attended, was not only an opportunity for the residents of District 4 and surrounding areas to voice their concerns about the crime in their neighborhood but also to work as a community to come up with possible solutions.  By the end of the meeting, each issue was addressed and solutions to the problem were recommended.

One suggestion was the creation of an online neighborhood watch database that shows which neighborhood actively keep a look out for crime near their homes.  All of the concerns and recommendations will be presented to the Phoenix City Council, Simplot said.  Officials said ideas from previous summits have been turned into actual programs. One example given was a shopping cart retrieval system that helped rid neighborhoods of abandoned carts.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris were also in attendance.  “One of the most powerful thing you have are citizens engaged in fighting crime,” said Goddard.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]