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9OYS Crime Watch: How safe is Marana?

9OYS Crime Watch: How safe is Marana?

CREATED Jun 30, 2011

Reported by:  Jessica Chapin

MARANA, Ariz. (KGUN9- TV)- For the city of Marana, crime fighting is a numbers game.  There are 77 officers for the city's 34,000 people.  So, citizens like Linda Miller, a neighborhood watch captain, can make a big difference.

Miller describes her neighborhood as peaceful, with its 65 blocks assigned a neighborhood watch representative.  She says everyone does their part to look out and trust their instincts.

"If your gut feeling is it's not right, guess what?  It's not right," she said, "So, that's the gut feeling you have and you really should listen to that instinct."

Miller says the main concern for their neighborhood is home break-ins.  Though their last burglaries were two years ago, she says they've caught people watching homes, scouting them for activity.  That's when neighborhood watch volunteers contact police to intervene.  Marana Police Lt. Dale Bradshaw says it's that kind of community awareness that goes a long way.

"The key is to keep the community involved with the police department and to listen to their concerns," he said. 

He says it's one reason crime statistics in Marana have remained steady for the past several years:

                              2008          2009           2010

Shoplifting             229             230              234
Larceny                 458             407              443
Car Theft               92               78                57 
Burglary                143             114              102
Criminal Damage   406             376              329

Marana relies on another crime-solving, number-crunching resource-- crime analyst Janice Moser.  She gets information from officers in the field and looks for patterns or trends.

"I put bits and pieces together to simplify what could be very complex," Moser said. 

Those bits and pieces cracked open a big case of car break-ins.  The pattern showed a time and location, and predicted when the thieves would come back.  Officers made half a dozen arrests based on the information.

"Being able to deploy more appropriately, knowing what your targets may be," said Moser, "Having a better idea of what types of crime trends we're experiencing in the town of Marana."

Information can also help assess how affective tactics are.  A surge in vandalism at a shopping complex led officers to step up patrols in the area, and data gathered a month later proved success.

"We did see a 24-percent reduction in exterior property crimes in that area," said Moser.

With the help of number-crunching tools and watchful citizens, police hope to keep crime rates low in Marana.