This year the Maricopa County Attorney's Office launched the "Keeping Families Safe" campaign to help educate residents in our communities of ways they can prevent and prepare against crime. So far this year, we've covered scams and identify theft, personal and home safety, talked about the warning signs of substance abuse, vaping, teen suicide, domestic violence, among many other topics. While we can't predict when crime will occur, we can help families develop habits that will keep them safe. To be better prepared for the year to come, we want to provide a quick look at the crime trends across the valley this year.
According to the Community Crime Map, the five most common crimes throughout the valley this year included theft, motor vehicle theft, aggravated assault, residential burglary, and commercial burglary. Compared to last year, motor vehicle theft, commercial burglary, and aggravated assault increased, while theft and DUI decreased. According to the Phoenix Police Departments Crime Analysis Unit, the first half of 2020 showed a dramatic increase in violent crime, with homicide and assault increasing 25% compared to 2019. Crimes classified as aggravated assault cover various acts that cause serious physical injury, use a weapon, or are intentional in nature. There was also an increase in assaults with weapons, with 42% of these crimes involving a gun. A significant shift that also occurred this year was a rise in domestic violence, which accounted for 24 homicides during the first half of the year alone.
This year, crime also occurred more consistently throughout the week versus the weekend compared to last year. Similarly, this year's time of day crime shifted to throughout the day versus last year when it occurred mostly at night. While it's hard to identify a definitive cause for this shift, the COVID-19 pandemic did alter routines by encouraging more people to stay home.
COVID-19 also played a factor in crimes committed virtually. Scams were particularly prevalent this year, reaching record numbers in the spring and then again in the summer when COVID-19 cases were on the rise. Data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed that scams originating on social media more than tripled compared to last year. Financial losses from these scams also reached a record high amounting to $117 million in just the first six months of the year, compared to $134 million in all of 2019. The most common scams reported to the FTC consisted of online shopping scams followed by romance scams, business or economic relief scams, family/friend imposters, and government imposters. Scams related to multi-level marketing companies and pyramid schemes also increased five-fold during the spring and summer. Over 94% of FTC reports identified Facebook and Instagram as the sites where these scams took place.
The start of the year is a great time to incorporate new safety habits into your daily routine. Check out our top safety tips for 2021 below.
- Frequently inspect your home and identify areas vulnerable to break-ins
- Always lock your car, take your keys inside, and park in well-lit areas
- Practice situational awareness and be alert and aware of those around you
- Be proactive about protecting your personal and financial information
- Make it a habit to safely discard prescription medication from your home
- Stay committed to never driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Creating safety habits can make a real difference in protecting yourself, your property, and preventing crime. To learn more about all the ways you can help keep your family safe visit, MaricopaCountyAttorney.org.
To learn more about crime in your community, visit CommunityCrimeMap.com