In an effort to reduce crime amid an increase in violence, with homicides at their highest number in at least six years and a rise of aggravated assaults, the Phoenix police department created a crime reduction plan designed to "provide guidance to staff on preventing and reducing crime by utilizing a community and victim-centered approach." Over the past six years, homicides shot up 39% and aggravated assaults rose 14%. Police Chief Michael Sullivan directed his staff to come up with the plan which calls out goals to "drive down" violent crime by 5% and property crime by 8%, reports the Arizona Republic. The crime reduction plan comes as the police department struggles to fill hundreds of vacancies and faces persistent outside scrutiny. The department has been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice since August 2021 after claims of abuse, excessive use of force, and discrimination by police. The probe followed court filings, media reports, and citizen complaints stemming from a record year of police shootings, a string of high-profile deaths at the hands of Phoenix officers, and reports of overzealous policing at downtown homeless encampments and at political protests.
The anticrime plan calls for a community and victim-centered approach; reducing crime through solutions-oriented strategies, data, and intelligence-driven policing; and a commitment to self-improvement and self-evaluation of what works or doesn't. The department also expects to focus on: the most violent people, the most active places where criminal behaviors are concentrated, prohibited firearm possessors, and violent offenders with outstanding warrants. "By addressing our most violent hotspots and high-risk individuals, we will achieve a reduction in the criminal activity within our City that significantly impacts the quality of life for our community members," the plan states. To reduce the violent crime rate, the department said it would use information accurately, quickly allocate the appropriate resources, ensure that effective tactics and training are implemented, and collaborate with both internal and external partners, including prosecutors. All units of Phoenix police, including patrol, detectives, and the special assignments unit, will contribute. Relationships the police have with community members, community partners, and stakeholders are part of the plan. Officers' engagement with individuals through open communication or letting community members establish new groups to advocate for their neighbors' safety are paths to reducing crime in neighborhoods, the plan stated.