Most Crime in Tempe Down -- Murder: Not So Much

The Tempe Police Department released its annual crime report this morning, and most crime in the city is down -- except murder, which is way, way up.

In total, there were 12 homicides in Tempe in 2010, which is the most the city has seen since 2000, when there were 13. In 2009, there were only two homicides in Tempe.

Tempe Police Department spokesman Steve Carbajal tells New Times only one of those murders remains unsolved.

The Tempe Police Department got a bit of a bad rap last year when the unrelated murders of two Arizona State University students went unsolved for months. Late last year, though, arrests were made in each of those murders.

As for other serious crimes in Tempe, including assault, rape, and robbery, they're all down, according to the report.

In 2009, there were 64 rapes reported in Tempe. In 2010, that number shrank to 43. Assaults saw a similar decline in Tempe, with 548 in 2009 to 460 in 2010.

Crime in Tempe, in general, has seen a steady decline since the beginning of the decade, going from 15,246 total reported crimes in 2000, to 13,571 in 2005, and finally to less than 10,000 reported crimes in each of the last two years.

Not to say the numbers are misleading, but how crimes are classified could play a small role in the decline.

For example, as far as we know, the Tempe Police Department still hasn't determined whether the death of Jeff Ahlers was a murder or a suicide.

Ahlers was found shot to death in a Tempe canal in June of last year. A gun and a cell phone were later found in the canal -- when the Tempe Police Department finally drained it six months later.

In another instance, an ASU student was assaulted by two men as he left his job as a bouncer at a bar in downtown Tempe. According to the police report, the two suspects assaulted the victim in what appeared to be a failed robbery attempt. The two suspects -- one of whom was fresh out of jail -- were detained, but never charged with a crime.

In any event, crime in Tempe is down. See the full report here.

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James King
Contact: James King