Crime statistics go up and down from year to year in Morenci, but overall the various incidents remain consistent, said police chief Larry Weeks in his annual year-end report to city council Monday night.
“It remains fairly consistent,” Weeks said. “We live in a safe community. It’s a good place to live. We do have some crime, as every community does, but it’s not dramatic and it’s not out of control so I feel comfortable about where we’re at.”
Chief Weeks said the past year was the first in a while for consistent staffing. He’s faced layoffs and short-term employment by officers moving on to larger departments, but recent months have brought stability.
“I’ve had my most consistent crew that I’ve had in the seven years that I’ve been here,” he said.
Weeks noted an overall increase of 80 calls over the previous year, but a few fewer calls than 2007.
The incidence of larcenies and bad checks were both down despite the weak economy, he said, along with damaged property.
Healthy and safety complaints—dog problems, tall grass, etc., declined but, but that was partially due to a change in procedure.
Weeks noted an increase in suspicious situations and general disputes about property, along with an increase in calls to serve outside the city.
The state police and county sheriff’s department have been cut back in staff and local departments are sometimes called to help fill the void.
“That’s something we’re going to have to seriously continue to monitor,” Weeks said.
Community outreach efforts continue to remain high. Weeks said he’s spent a lot of time in the school buildings—something he considers important.
A special effort in 2009 was a collaboration with the fire department to talk with high school seniors about smoke detectors in relation to fire safety in dormitories and off-campus living.