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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 89408 Find in a Library
Title: Phoenix - Crime and Politics in a New Federal City (From Crime in City Politics, P 193-238, 1983, Anne Heinz, et al, eds. - See NCJ-89403)
Author(s): D L Altheide; J S Hall
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 46
Sponsoring Agency: Longman Inc
New York, NY 10036
Sale Source: Longman Inc
19 West 44th Street
Suite 1012
New York, NY 10036
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: While elected officials, hired professionals, and the media in Phoenix have been unreponsive to social needs, they have consistently supported rising expenditures and Federal grants for police because crime control is perceived as pivotal to the city's economic progress.
Abstract: Reforms instituted in 1949 produced a council-manager form of city government, with these officials running for 2-year terms on a nonpartisan ballot. Citizens have played a limited role in this government, since the council is dominated by a business elite and hired professionals have a major policymaking role. Since 1948, the dominant Charter Government Committee has given highest priority to crime control, planned growth, street and sewer improvements, traffic control, and annexation as a means of population expansion. Because these political forces are opposed to tax increases to support expanded city services, they have turned increasingly to Federal funds while simultaneously criticizing big government. Crime emerged as a major issue in the early 1960's when the 1962 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) showed that Phoenix's crime rate was double that of comparably sized cities. A crime commission recommended expanding the police department and ignored other factors that might explain the increases, such as enhanced enforcement capacities, a more heterogeneous population, and a lifestyle of entire households at work all day. Over the next decade, the Phoenix police acquired more personnel and sophisticated equipment which allowed them to detect more crime and report it more accurately. These numbers were used as an indication of more crime and justification for adding more resources. Growing city expenditures on police were offset by LEAA grants, block grants, and revenue sharing. The proactive police force became a service agency concerned with more than law enforcement, and its increasing arrests clogged the already jammed judicial and detention facilities. Phoenix did manage to co-op big government for its purposes, but will face a fiscal crisis when Federal funds are withdrawn. The paper includes tables, 5 footnotes, and 25 references.
Index Term(s): Arizona; Crime rate studies; Federal programs; Police crime-prevention; Segregation; Urban criminality; Urban policing
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