Are crimes decreasing in Scottsdale during COVID-19?

Police: Data can’t be linked between stay-at-home orders and less crime

Posted 5/5/20

While Arizonans were ordered to stay at home to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus during the months of March and April, the Scottsdale Police Department received fewer calls for help --- but …

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Are crimes decreasing in Scottsdale during COVID-19?

Police: Data can’t be linked between stay-at-home orders and less crime

Posted

While Arizonans were ordered to stay at home to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus during the months of March and April, the Scottsdale Police Department received fewer calls for help --- but officials say there isn’t a clear link as to why.

Through a public records request, data shows calls for service in March 2020 were about 3,500 less than previous years:

  • March 2020: 19,727
  • March 2019: 23,278
  • March 2018: 23,503.

The following month, call for service numbers were only readily available for April 1-21, but data shows there was also a couple thousand less than previous years:

  • April 1-21, 2020: 11,541
  • April 2019: 15,928
  • April 2018: 15,499.

Scottsdale Police Officer Kevin Watts, who serves in the public information office, says officials can only hypothesize the possible reasons for decline.

“It would probably be a fair assumption to link it to the stay at home order and business closures, but we do not have any validated causation related to the current statistical data provided,” Mr. Watts said.

A second trend occurring in Scottsdale this spring is Part 1 FBI crimes are less than the last two years for the months of January-March as well. Part 1 crimes include criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft.

Year-to-date numbers of January through March 2020 show the total number of Part 1 crimes was 1,313; compared to 1,500 for the same time last year; and 1,573 in 2018.

Part 1 crime data for April 2020 was not available at the time of the records request.

Mr. Watts said in recent years, crime rates in Scottsdale and around the county have been displaying a downward trend and appear to be continuing this year.

“There are probably many factors that play into this trend. Of course as a police department we hope that our education, community policing and proactive efforts are part of that trend,” Mr. Watts said. “We know that the effort and actions of our community also play a significant role in the decline.”

When asked if the sudden halt in tourism and travelers to Scottsdale has had any effect on the police department’s work, Mr. Watts again said officials just don’t know.

“What we do know is that there is a noticeable decrease in calls for service currently,” he said. “It would seem to make sense that with less people visiting, people staying home, and a large portion of the city’s businesses closed there would be less calls for service. Again, this would only be an assumption as there is no data supporting causation.”

Other numbers show there were 51 offenses of domestic violence in March, while there was 43 in March 2019 and 47 in March 2018.

Mr. Watts says there is not sufficient information to draw a link between the COVID-19 crisis and any Scottsdale domestic violence related crimes.

Criminal Homicide

  • 2018: 1
  • 2019: 0
  • 2020: 0

Forcible Rape

  • 2018: 10
  • 2019: 6
  • 2020: 3

Robbery

  • 2018: 9
  • 2019: 7
  • 2020: 11

Aggravated Assault

  • 2018: 17
  • 2019: 21
  • 2020: 18

Burglary

  • 2018: 55
  • 2019: 55
  • 2020: 39

Theft

  • 2018: 440
  • 2019: 373
  • 2020: 318

Motor Vehicle Theft

  • 2018: 21
  • 2019: 21
  • 2020: 37

Arson

  • 2018: 2
  • 2019: 2
  • 2020: 2

Stolen Property

  • 2018: $418,135
  • 2019: $1,349,559
  • 2020: $626,256

Stolen Vehicles

  • 2018: $164,054
  • 2019: $302,050
  • 2020: $522,050

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