TPD hoping to improve burglary response

Photo: Video by

TPD hoping to improve burglary response

CREATED Nov. 2, 2012

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - While Pima County deputies cope with home invasions, they're working to stop the still frightening, but more routine burglaries where thieves violate your home, steal your stuff and move on without ever threatening you face to face.
Deputies say they come in person to check every burglary---come quickly -- and if they're delayed -- a supervisor will be informed delays are happening.
People in Tucson sometimes complain about delays in the burglary response from Tucson Police.

As thieves prowl the neighborhoods, looking for any house---maybe your house---to be their next target, Tucson Police have a different approach to how they handle that sort of property crime.
Home invasions where you've been attacked, and cases where a burglar may still be in your house get a fast, high priority response.
But if the thief is long gone, and police have more dangerous cases soaking up tight resources, you may have to wait awhile for an officer.
KGUN 9 reporter Craig Smith asked Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild about that.

Smith said: "For a long time it's been a sore subject with people in Tucson that if they have a burglary frequently they're told, sorry, short resources, please file on line or we can get there but it'll be a long wait."

Mayor Rothschild: "The issues going on in the county we're trying to deal with here in the city with our gang prevention unit and our special units and we try to  keep an eye on that stuff and really try to break these guys up before they start doing those things."

Resources are tight for almost all governments.  What gives Pima County more ability to respond to burglaries more quickly?
It may be a matter of call load.  TPD says on a busy day officers might answer a thousand calls.  The Sheriff's Department says it may have 350 or 400.  On the other hand the Sheriff's department has fewer deputies overall.
Tucson Police want it very clear, no one is forced to file on line.  It's simply an option if they don't want to wait for an officer. But if they decide not to wait and file on their own, they won't benefit from an officer's expertise.

TPD Sgt. Maria Hawke said: "The average citizen typically doesn't have the type of training and experience that an officer would have if they responded to look for potential items of evidence to include maybe DNA or fingerprints that could be acquired at the scene."

Mayor Rothschild hopes as the economy improves and budgets ease up, resources will improve and help improve police response on things like burglaries.
Tucson is working to gear up police recruitment, but part of the need for that is a lot of officers will be retiring soon and the city will need to replace them.

There's a lot you can do to protect yourself against burglary.  TPD has a lot of tips at this link.