Crime is down in Ahwatukee Foothills compared with the previous year. Emily Whitmore / AFN

Crime in Ahwatukee Foothills has fallen. And, in some cases, the drop has been dramatic.

Auto thefts fell 44 percent, from 265 to 151, in the past 12 months, ending Feb. 28, compared to the previous 12-month period.

That trend city-wide has helped Phoenix move from the auto theft capital of the U.S. down to 40th place.

But that’s not all. Thefts in Ahwatukee Foothills fell 9 percent, property crimes were down by 11 percent and burglaries were down 21 percent.

And the credit goes to everyone.

“We took all of our efforts and focused them into decreasing crime,” said Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a 27-year veteran of the department.

And while the department created details like the major offender bureau to do nothing but put bad guys in jail, it also credited community groups and individuals for helping to cut crime.

“People are starting to take things into their own hands and being more active,” said Rick Tamburo, a community action officer who helps neighborhoods organize Block Watch groups in Ahwatukee Foothills.

“That’s what our Block Watches are about. That’s what our community meetings are about. You have to be our eyes and ears. There are only so many of us and we can only be in so many places at one time. Calling us when you see something suspicious, that’s how crime will go down,” said Tamburo, who with his partner Officer Chad Williamsen, have helped people start more than a dozen new Block Watch groups in the past year.

“Focusing the effort also means involving the community,” said Thompson, including city departments that help provide seamless service to officers and the public for everything from barking dogs to graffiti.

“But think what it means in Phoenix. You see (graffiti) here, but not like in other cities,” said Thompson, which adds to the quality of life in Phoenix.

One area that saw an increase is drug crimes, up in Ahwatukee Foothills from 122 to 181, a 48 percent jump.

But even that may illustrate how the community’s help is taking a bite out of crime.

“The more information the community is able to provide on suspicious persons or activities the more our officers have to start an investigation into drug crimes. I think that the (drug) crime stats reflect more the fact that our officers are proactively pursuing drug crimes,” said Lt. Mark Tallman, who works out of the Pecos Community Center police substation.

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