Note: Local interest mostly. The drug use is the root cause of all
the trouble, here and Mexico. Securing the border will obviously
help. But until something is done about these people, no real progress.
BURGLARIES HIT MIDTOWN HARDEST
Police: It's all about illegal drugs - and the money to score them
Rob O'Dell and Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star |
Posted: Friday, February 10, 2012 12:00 am
Midtown was the hardest-hit area for residential and business
burglaries in 2011 in Tucson, an Arizona Daily Star analysis of
Police Department crime data shows.
A wide swath of the city running southeast from North Stone Avenue
and East Prince Road to South Kolb and East Golf Links roads was the
area most severely affected by burglaries in 2011, the Star analysis
shows. Another hard-hit area was south of Drexel Road between
Interstate 19 and South Campbell Avenue.
The Star mapped the crimes by police beat, which are sectors of the
five teams that cover crimes in the city: south, west, downtown,
midtown and east. There are seven police beats in the south, seven
beats in the west, five beats downtown, seven beats in midtown and
eight beats on the east side.
By far the worst-hit beats - with more than 265 burglaries per beat
in 2011 - were:
• Midtown Beat 1: Bounded by North Campbell, East Grant Road, North
Alvernon Way and East River Road.
• Midtown Beat 3: Bounded by Campbell, Grant, Alvernon and Broadway.
• West Beat 5: Bounded by Campbell, Prince, Stone and Grant.
The data for the past several years mirror the 2011 statistics. The
data in 2009 were nearly identical, while in 2010 there were slightly
fewer burglaries in midtown and more on the east side and south side.
Police officials gave various reasons for the large number of
burglaries in midtown: the high number of renters because of the
University of Arizona, the concentration of population and houses,
the central location and that bus lines funnel more people to the
central part of the city.
Becky Noel, a community-resource officer with Tucson police and
neighborhood watch coordinator in midtown, cited the central
location, along with the influx of people from buses. Noel said the
crimes are almost always drug-related and many times are crimes of
opportunity, which are more plentiful because people travel through
midtown more than the east or west sides of town.
Generally, burglaries are done primarily by people in search of money
for drugs, either to pawn the stolen items, trade them for drugs or
sell them on the street for drug money, she said.
"It is drug-related," Noel said. "They don't steal it to go furnish
Sgt. Matt Dietzman, supervisor of the Tucson Police Department's
burglary unit, said there's no specific reason why certain areas are
"It's difficult to tell what the reasons are," Dietzman said.
"There's no set explanation."
Dietzman looks through burglary cases and assigns those with
sufficient leads to detectives. There are six burglary detectives for
the entire city, he said.
About 20 to 25 percent of reported burglary cases are assigned to a
detective, but only if there are real leads, such as a credible
suspect or property recovered at a pawn shop.
Generally, unless a victim has the serial numbers of their
electronics or good photographs of their jewelry or other valuables,
the burglary investigation ends with the police report, he said.
"That doesn't mean it's the end of it, but a lot of times, it usually
is," Dietzman said.
Chris McKinley, whose home near East Fifth Street and North Columbus
Boulevard was burglarized in 2011, said she felt the police report
was a "pointless exercise" because police would never follow up on
the $2,000 worth of items stolen.
"They are not going to waste resources on it," she said.
While she was fixing up her house before moving in, thieves stole her
washer and dryer, a 50-gallon barrel full of tools, light fixtures,
all her cleaning supplies and even bath towels.
She said she believes the thieves backed up a truck in the easement
behind her house and stole the items. She called easements "highways
The worst loss was the tools, many of which were given to her over
the years by her father and brother, McKinley said. "You can never
get that back."
Don't let it happen to you
Tucson police recommendations to avoid burglaries:
• "Harden the target" by locking doors, windows and gates.
• Close curtains in rooms easily viewed from the outside, especially
those with valuables.
• Write down serial numbers of valuable electronics and store that
information separate from your computer, either in hard copy, on
email or online storage service.
• Take good pictures of valuables such as jewelry, art and
memorabilia so they can be returned if found at pawn shops or crime
• Get to know your neighbors.
• Call 911 when you see suspicious activity.
Look for more stories like this soon from a database the Star is
building from Tucson crime statistics, including burglaries analyzed
at a neighborhood level.
Contact reporter Rob O'Dell at email@example.com or 807-8465.
Contact reporter Jamar Younger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4115.
Read more: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/police-it-s-all-