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Some crimes in the Valley increase from February to March amid coronavirus crisis

Phoenix has seen a 20% increase in commercial burglary calls, a 42% increase in neighbor complaints and a near 50% increase in speeding.

PHOENIX — Is the coronavirus leading to a rise in crime and making our neighborhoods less safe?

New data shows there are upticks in some types of crimes over the past month, in particular, crimes of opportunity.

“I finally decided to get a wood-fired pizza oven and was super excited," said Matt Williams alongside his wife Brooke.

The Williams Family really felt that excitement about their new $325 pizza oven when they got an alert Monday morning from their Ring doorbell camera outside their Scottsdale home. It showed an Amazon delivery driver dropping off the large package. 

But all of that changed in a matter of minutes.

“I saw the two Ring notifications," Williams said.

They received a second notification from their doorbell camera, which showed another person walk up to their doorstep. This time, it was a thief.

“He was sitting across the street before the Amazon package even got delivered, so as soon as it was delivered he waited a few minutes then he drove around, parked in front of the house, walked up and grabbed it like he owned the place," Williams said.

Porch pirates are typically seen around the holidays but companies like FedEx are warning that more online ordering amid the coronavirus crisis can also lead to a spike.

“There are more packages being delivered to homes which gives bad guys more opportunities to commit crimes," said Detective Jason Flam of the Mesa Police Department. “Right now, we have more people at home, which means more vehicles parked on their driveways on the streets. We continue to see groups of people going through neighborhoods going through open vehicles.”

Mesa PD says you should stay vigilant, know what is "normal" in your neighborhood and don't hesitate to call police. They're still responding to calls and have easy tools for online reporting.

While it's unclear if the coronavirus outbreak is a contributing factor, the 12 News I-Team found Phoenix police data that shows calls for service have gone up from February to March.

Phoenix has seen a 20% increase in commercial burglary calls, a 42% increase in reports of loud parties and arguments between neighbors and a near 50% increase in speeding and racing calls.

As for the Williams Family, they have filed a police report and have a warning for their community.

“Looking out for neighbors too. Just kind of noticing what’s going on around us. I think people are doing it more and more now because everybody’s home and they have more time on their hands," Williams said.


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