By City of Sedona Police Chief Ray Cota
Sedona AZ (September 13, 2013) – With the start of both college and professional football, comes the array of statistical data that sports commentators, analyst, coaches, and fans will be presenting to show everyone how well or how poorly a team or player is performing. With just about every aspect of football broken down into numbers, percentages and ratios, the compilation of data seems to be at the center of decision making as to what players will be on the field and what plays will be ran. In police work, this same focus on number crunching has been gaining more prevalence in recent years and at times is taking center stage as to how public safety is accomplished at the local, regional and state level.
To those of us in law enforcement, the use of data and analysis takes many forms and has varied names such as COMPSTAT, data-driven policing, intelligence-led policing and the emerging systems of predictive policing. No matter what it is called or how it used, all of these methods of directing police resources have crime data as one of its core factors. So what does this mean to you as a resident, business operator, or visitor here in the City of Sedona?
First, as a community we need to stay aware of crime and public safety issues in our area, city and neighborhoods. By being more informed as to what type of crime is occurring, where it is happening and when it is taking place, we can be more mindful to not leave valuable items in unlocked vehicles, secure our homes properly whether just leaving go around the corner or leaving on vacation, and report unusual or suspicious activity to the police department.
One such way to become a better informed resident is to join or start up a Community Watch program in your area. During this past year, Officer Jackie McQuaid has been developing new community awareness teams throughout the city and keeping these neighborhoods informed about crime trends and crime prevention methods. So far she has developed six groups in various areas of the city. You can reach Officer McQuaid at (928) 282-3102 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our Community Watch program.
The police department has also joined an online crime mapping site that will provide viewers with up to date information on crime that has occurred in the city. The website ( www.CrimeMapping.com ) allows users to see map of recent crime incidents near any select address in the City of Sedona. The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office also provides crime information to the site which will give the user a greater awareness of crime activity in the unincorporated areas of Yavapai County that surround the city. Users are encouraged to explorer the site and the various ways in which the information can be displayed to your particular interest.
It is also important that the Police Department provides information directly to the community on crime statistics and its accomplishments in reducing and preventing crime. To that end the department will be developing a report that will be available on the City of Sedona website that will show the level of crime that is occurring in the city in comparison to previous reporting periods and similar cities in Arizona. Some of the highlights of the first report will show that:
• Violent crime was reduced 18.5% in 2012 as compared to 2011.
• Violent crime clearance rate was 68.1% in 2012 as compared to 59.2% in 2011 which far exceeded the State crime clearance rate of 40.9% in 2012 and 40.4% in 2011.
• Violent crime is 33.3% less in the first 6 months of 2013 as compared to the first 6 months of 2012
• Property crime is 12.4% less in the first 6 months of 2013 as compared to the first six months of 2012.
It is my goal to continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the police department not just through statistical analysis but most importantly through the quality of the interaction that we have with our residents, businesses and visitors. During this year we will be developing a community survey that will assist in ensuring that we are providing the best service possible. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome and can be sent to me directly at (928) 282-3102.