Besides the continued success of the county’s child support enforcement division, a number of stats illustrate the state of the county last year.
A notable figure is the number of cases submitted to the Gila County attorney’s office for prosecution.
After an arrest, law enforcement agencies submit cases to the attorney’s office that determines if charges are filed. Last year, law enforcement offices submitted 1,240 cases to the attorney’s office, 12.5 percent less from the year before. Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores said a number of things might account for the decrease in submitted cases. Countywide, there are at least 30 fewer officers on the streets, a decrease seen over the last five years or so, she said.
“Last year, we saw the most significant impact of that,” she said. “We had 200 less felonies submitted.”
Besides having fewer officers available to make arrests, the crime rate has remained steady or fallen in most areas. Last year, there was only a slight increase in felony property crimes, domestic violence and DUI. Drug crimes decreased by 10 percent from the prior fiscal year, Flores said.
“Overall, it appears that crime in Gila County is decreasing and our successful work with all law enforcement agencies is making our county safer.”
Domestic violence support
To address the increasing problem of domestic violence in the county, Flores’ office is initiating an anti-violence committee in 2012. While the state has a domestic violence commission, the county has never had a group working on the problem.
With the uptick in domestic violence arrests last year, Flores said now is the time for community members to find solutions and work together to help victims.
“Overall, we have seen an increasing domestic violence problem that I would like to see as a county we address,” she said.
Victim services remained a crucial duty of the attorney’s office. The office notified 31,000 victims of court and legal proceedings, keeping them abreast on their case. In addition, advocates worked with 1,700 victims directly. In all, the Victim Compensation Board awarded $41,000 in payments to victims for lost wages, medical and mental health costs and funeral fees.
“Our advocates, in both offices (Globe and Payson), do their best to see that (victims) have their day in court,” said Flores.
Last year, $126,500 found in the possession of criminals and linked to criminal conduct was put to good use by the county.
Law enforcement agencies used the money for narcotic investigations, new equipment and training.
Dump the drugs
To help combat the most dangerous abuse problem in the county — prescription drug abuse — the attorney’s office promoted Dump the Drugs days. In 2011, law enforcement agencies collected 163 pounds of prescription drugs, bringing the total since 2009 to 903 pounds. All unwanted or unneeded prescription drugs are destroyed in a copper mine near Globe.