Residents of tiny Aguila, Az., are tired of being unprortected against crime, says the Arizona Republic. With little law enforcement and a crime wave that has left two residents dead and hit just about every business, many residents have armed themselves, installed security systems, and taken to patrolling residential areas. “We’ve called 911 for assaults, and 24 hours later, they showed up,” said Bob Edwards, 63, chief of the Aguila Volunteer Fire Department.
Many Aguila residents say the crime surge stems from a growing methamphetamine problem, compounded by the deactivation of a sheriff’s substation 25 miles away. This week, about 200 people jammed into a community center to vent at Maricopa County Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Penrose. Even when a patrol car arrives from the nearest active substation, about 60 miles away in Sun City, residents say the deputies often refuse to gather evidence, interview suspects or file reports. There were complaints that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio seems to spend a lot of time on television talkinga bout his officers going after illegal immigrants in Phoenix when there is a serious crime problem in county jurisdictions. Penrose conceded that response times have been inexcusable and offered to help organize a sheriff’s posse. Aguila is a farming community along the far western edge of Maricopa County and is nestled in a valley between two mountain rangess. Its zip code has a population of 1,064.