Sep 28, 2022 - News

Murders and assaults up in Phoenix; rapes and robberies are down

 Phoenix violent crime incidents, by type
Data: City of Phoenix; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios

Murders and aggravated assaults are on the rise in Phoenix, but other violent crimes, including rape and burglary, have decreased in the past five years, according to an Axios Phoenix analysis.

Driving the news: We looked at crime incidents reported through the city's open data portal for the first six months of each year from 2018 to 2022.

What we found: There were 102 murders reported in the first six months of 2022 in Phoenix, compared with 57 in January-June 2018.

  • More than 3,300 aggravated assaults in 2022, compared with 2,630 in 2018.

Meanwhile: Rapes, burglaries and robberies decreased by 19%, 39% and 18%, respectively, over the same time period.

What they're saying: Police spokesperson Donna Rossi says Phoenix is part of a national trend of rising violent crime.

What's happening: The city launched "Operation Gun Crime Crackdown" in July and dedicated additional resources to arresting suspects and seizing guns from people who use them illegally.

  • In the first six weeks of the program, police took 711 guns and made 526 gun crime-related arrests.

Of note: The city's new interim police chief Michael Sullivan told Axios Phoenix earlier this month that curbing violent crime is a priority.

  • He said he would focus on the "small percentage" of people who are causing problems and deploy resources to the "most violent places."
  • Sullivan's ability to address crime will likely determine whether the city will consider him for the permanent chief position.

The intrigue: Crime has become a major issue for Democrats in the run-up to the November election, especially in prosecutor races.

  • GOP attorney general nominee Abe Hamadeh and Maricopa County attorney Rachel Mitchell have tried to paint their Democratic opponents as soft on crime.
  • AG candidate Kris Mayes has doubled down on her support of law enforcement while Julie Gunnigle has attacked Mitchell for being too close with police unions.
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