Unfortunately, the evidence shows that the Arpaio approach is a proven failure at reducing crime. From 2002 to 2009, the crime rate in Maricopa County has increased 58 percent, while the state as a whole averaged a 12 percent decrease. Compare that 58 percent crime increase to other localities of Arizona that did not use the immigrant-targeting approach. In that same time period, Phoenix enjoyed a 14 percent decrease; Tempe, a 26 percent decrease; and Mesa, a 31 percent decrease.
SB 1070 mandates that this proven failure spread statewide, forcing every police jurisdiction in Arizona reverse years of successful trust building between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Police will now have to spend precious time and squander community trust checking the status of anyone they apprehend who they have “reasonable suspicion” is undocumented. And if law enforcement officials don’t adopt Arpaio’s priorities and put enforcing immigration law “to its fullest extent” at the top of the agenda, they could get sued.
Under the direction of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County’s law enforcement regularly sweeps Latino neighborhoods and pulls over Latino drivers while felony warrants go unaddressed. Arpaio’s department is under Federal investigation, his jails have had their health certification revoked and police chiefs around the nation have decried his tactics. Sheriff Arpaio takes pride in his anti-immigrant reputation, openly admitting to arresting “very few non-Hispanics.”