As if the murder report on the local nightly news wasn't enough to convince you that you live in one of the most dangerous states in the nation, here comes a new study showing that -- golly, gee -- Arizona is one of the most dangerous states in the nation! The third most dangerous state, to be exact, right behind New Mexico at Number 2, and Nevada at Number 1. This exciting news comes to us via our friends at Morgan Quitno Press in Lawrence, Kansas, the same bean counters extraordinaire who labelled the Zona the dumbest state in the nation, and Phoenix the 59th most dangerous city in the country.
Remember how Gov. Janet "Do Nothing" Napolitano responded last year by saying, "We are not the dumbest state in the nation!"? Similarly, PHX Mayor Phil "Goober" Gordon answered Morgan Quitno's 59th most dangerous city ranking by poo-pooing the study, essentially stating that crime statistics are unreliable because different statisticians can take the same set of numbers and do whatever they want with them. (The Bird first addressed the issue December 14 of last year in a column titled "Murder City.") This incredible, idiotic ostrich-like stance ignores the fact that ALL government entities rely on stats to judge the progress of various programs. Moreover, the stats Morgan Quitno uses to establish their rankings are the very same statistics that the Phoenix Police Department reports to the FBI. So what, are the PPD and the FBI liars? If you're interested, you can look at the PPD's stats here (check "Uniform Crime Reports, Part I -- Violent Crimes"). As you can see, there has not been a significant drop in the rates for murder and rape in last few years. Do you feel safer?
I called Goober flack Scott Phelps for a comment, and this was his spin:
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Number-crunchers in Kansas don't define Arizona. People vote with their feet and are making this the fastest growing county and state in the nation. In Phoenix, we continue to focus on educational opportunities, job opportunities and public safety. We have added 300 officers in the past 3 years and will continue to add personnel and resources. We're already acquiring three new helicopters, additional equipment and are building a high-tech crime lab.
We are investing in new communication equipment and an emergency operations center. And because technology is one of the best ways we can keep Phoenix effective and efficient, we are investing over 15 million dollars to improve Police and Fire Technology. This year, we will build our first new police precinct stations in 20 years — and we're building two of them.
First off, talking about things you're planning to do doesn't cut the proverbial mustard, especially when you've been in power for four years and in those four years your primary crime-fighting initiative has been handing out front-porch benches to people. What little the Goober administration has done (these 300 officers Phelps mentions) obviously is not enough. Of course, Do-Nothing Napolitano bears responsibility as well, but we've already proved we're the dumbest state in the nation by re-electing her skunk-coiffed self.
Phil's running for re-election this year, and any way you cut it, he's soft on crime. All it would take is some slightly-more savvy candidate (Phil ain't no Einstein, people) to run to his right on the crime issue, and Goober Gordon would be gone. Who that would be, I don't know. The brass ring is out there to be had, if someone will just make a grab for it.