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Crime and the Criminal Justice System in Arizona

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2003
443 pages
This document presents a statewide report on the occurrence of crime in Arizona in 2003.
Arizona has gone from third to first in total crime ranking. At the same time, the State has actually decreased in the total crime rate per capita. Robbery and auto theft are the only Part I crimes that have increased. Arizona leads the country in auto theft. Violent offenses have increased by a small percentage, with reported rape offenses increasing 14.8 percent, while murder showed a large decrease of 11.2 percent. Property offenses showed a very small increase of 1.1 percent. The criminal justice system includes all law enforcement agencies, the courts, probation departments, and prisons and jails. The workload for theses agencies has increased significantly from 1995 to 2002. The State is second only to Nevada in population growth. Two disturbing trends have been noted regarding juvenile arrests. The first is the increased number of juveniles being referred to the juvenile justice system for drug offenses. The second trend is that the percentage of females entering the juvenile justice system in proportion to males is increasing in all but a few counties. Adult arrests for Part I crimes decreased by 14.1 percent, while arrests for Part II Drug Offense crimes increased by 14.2 percent. Total juvenile arrests have declined for all segments of reported crimes. The number of adults and juveniles on probation has increased since 1995. One major change in the juvenile system was a reduction of 31.6 percent in Status Offense referrals. Correctional activity has increased dramatically. Commitments for Part I offenses have increased substantially, for all categories including violent crime, property crime, and drug-related offenses. The percentage of female inmates increased 69.5 percent from 1995 to 2002. The inmate population age 50 and up made up 6.9 percent of the total population in 1995 but in 2002 made up 9.1 percent of the total population. From 1995 to 2002 this segment of the inmate population increased 81.7 percent. Budgetary growth for State corrections increased substantially, and the inmate population increased 39.5 percent.