Phoenix might be the kidnapping-for-ransom capital of the U.S., but new data indicate that the region is a less violent place to live than it was three years ago, reports the Arizona Republic. For the third straight year, major cities in the metro area saw a drop in violent-crime rates in 2008, say reported-crime statistics the FBI released last week.
Phoenix’s new mantle as the kidnapping-for-ransom capital would seem to contradict a drop in violent crimes. That anomaly is tucked in the “robbery” category, one of the only areas of the FBI’s report that shows in uptick in activity during the past three years. Police say the vast majority of those crimes are the result of drug-and-human smuggling operations, which should make the overall decline in violent crime more significant, says crime expert Frank Zimring, law professor at the University of California-Berkeley. “There is no inconsistency between that subtrend and the larger population statistics on crimes that are going down. They’re just two different scales,” he said. “Unless you get kidnapped, then you don’t worry about that trend.”