Sam Stein: Arizona Violent Crime Down, Except Under Tough Anti-Immigration Sheriff

Sam Stein at the Huffington Post, just wrote a piece on violent crime in Arizona. Using data from America's Voice, Stein shows that crime is down all over Arizona except in Sherriff Joe Arpaio's district. Excerpts are below, full read is here:

The non-profit group America's Voice sent out a chart on Wednesday, documenting the change in violent crime levels in various Arizona police jurisdictions from 2002 through 2009. The numbers tell two interesting stories.

The first is that, by and large, crime is down across the board. In Arizona as a whole, it has dropped 12 percent in the past seven years. But in major Maricopa County cities with their own police forces -- Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe -- the rate has dropped even faster. (The group measured within Maricopa County because it is the epicenter of the immigration debate. But in Tucson, which is not in the county, there has also been a drop in the crime rate since 2002, according to law enforcement statistics).

And the second:

The more telling number may be the crime statistics for the portion of Maricopa County that is under the purview of controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio. According to data compiled by America's Voice, crime in that area has actually increased 58 percent since 2002.

Arpaio is considered something of a visionary among conservatives with respect to his approach to immigration. Many of his reforms, indeed, have served as a basis for the law that Gov. Jan Brewer tried to implement statewide. But he has clashed with other sheriffs over his methods, with some complaining that such broad anti-immigration policies put an overwhelming burden on law enforcement officials while producing social friction rather than safety.