Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Seal
Maricopa County Attorney’s Office
Justice for All
October 2018
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery

Each year, we dedicate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and turn our focus to raising awareness about this devastating crime that is much too common in our community. Created more than 30 years ago, the purpose of the month has three main goals; to celebrate those who have survived abuse, mourn those who have died because of domestic violence and work toward ending the violence. This year, we are partnering with New Life Center to increase awareness and help families in need. More details about the campaign and how you can help are found in this issue.

The FBI’s 2017 Uniform Crime Report was recently released and I break down what it means for crime rates in Arizona and areas we need to place our focus. We also include important information that dispels some of the myths on who is in prison and offer context for a better understanding of incarceration rates in Arizona.
October is a great month for getting out and meeting your neighbors. Local police agencies plan their annual Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods (G.A.I.N.) events this month and we’ll be out at a few around the Valley providing safety information and answering questions. You can also find us at the State Fair at the end of the month.
Finally, as we continue our award-winning Friday Night Football Patrol program, we’ll share some scenes and stats showing the fun and success we’ve had so far this season with all of our partners.

Bill Montgomery Signature

MCAO and New Life Center Partner for
Domestic Violence Awareness

New Life Center Logo

For the past decade our communities have suffered an average of 100 fatalities in Arizona every year due to domestic violence. This staggering number is only further highlighted by reports showing that in our state every 44 minutes one or more children are witnesses to domestic violence. These children can come to view domestic violence as normal and heartbreakingly will be at a higher risk to become the next generation of abusers and victims.
Promoting awareness and identifying resources is one of the best ways to help reduce instances of domestic violence in our community. This year the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is partnering with New Life Center to help specially promote awareness about the dangers domestic violence poses to children, even if they are only witnesses to the abuse.
Domestic violence is best defined as a pattern of controlling behaviors where one person uses their power to control the other. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse. It is not isolated to any one gender, race, economic situation, or upbringing. Our state has seen the damage this issue can inflict not only on victims, but on the community as a whole. A 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta estimated that almost 40% of people in Arizona had been subject to domestic abuse.
The hope of this campaign and partnership is to help educate the public about the issue of domestic violence as well as help those currently suffering in an abusive situation know about available resources. Please follow us on Twitter @marcoattorney as we share information about the campaign’s efforts throughout the month.
During the campaign MCAO will also be promoting a supply drive to help children currently in the New Life Center’s shelters with a much needed supply of new shoes.

If you would like to donate to the shoe drive please visit:


Hope’s Closet
415 North Litchfield Road
Goodyear, AZ 85338

Drop-Off Hours: Monday through Saturday
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

Shoe Sizes Needed:

Young kids 6-13
Big kids 1-9
(please no baby shoes)

Maricopa County Attorney Offers Perspective on
New Crime Report

FBI’s Uniform Crime Report

The FBI’s 2017 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for Arizona was released in late September and reflects an overall 1.4% drop in crime in the state. While crime is down overall in Arizona for the sixth year in a row, the new report indicates a mix in other trends. The report, which analyzed crime data from 2017, shows the violent crime rate rose 7.9%, while the property crime rate fell 2.9%.
“This report allows us to look at statewide data year over year and assess trends to see where we can identify areas for further coordination in law enforcement,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
Violent crime has generally trended downward since 1993 where we saw a high of 715 violent crimes per 100,000 people; our lowest rate was seen in 2014 when the rate hit a low of 392.7 violent crimes per 100,000 representing a drop of 45.1%. However, the past three years reflect an increase in violent crime with the new report indicating there were 508 violent crimes per 100,000 in 2017. This new data represents an increase of 29.4% since the low in 2014, but still remains 29% lower than the 1993 high.
The murder rate increased slightly from 5.6 per 100,000 in 2016 to 5.9 in 2017. Arizona’s historic lowest murder rate was 4.5 set in 2015, while the historic high remains 10.5 set in 1994. Rape increased to 51 per 100,000 in 2017 from 47.8 in 2016. Robbery also increased to 106 per 100,000, up from a historic low of 99.9 set in 1969 and an historic high of 204.2 set in 1974. Aggravated Assault rose from 315.6 in 2016 to 345 in 2017, continuing a trend of significant increases year over year since 2014.
Community Based Prosecutors have been reviewing aggravated assault numbers in several of our Community Based Prosecution Bureaus to identify crime drivers and partner with police and communities to develop strategies for reducing these crimes. One successful example is the North Central Phoenix Bureau which partnered with Phoenix Police Department and neighbors in the vicinity of 19th Avenue and Camelback. Efforts have led to a 15% reduction in reported aggravated assaults over the first six months of this year.
Property crimes trended lower in every category except for a slight increase of 1.5% in motor vehicle theft to 271.6 from 267.5 in 2016. Our historic low of 255.7 was set in 2013 while the high of 1,157.7 was set in 1995. Overall, the property crime rate of 2,914.9 offenses per 100,000 is the lowest rate since 1960 and contributed greatly to an overall reduction in the rate of criminal offenses against Arizona residents.

Operation Safe Treat Keeps Community Safe

Kids on Halloween

Registered sex offenders in Arizona are not allowed to participate in Halloween. That means no Halloween decorations outside their home and no handing out candy to children trick-or-treating. Operation Safe Treat, a partnership between the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, the US Marshal’s Office, several local police departments and the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department, sends teams of officers out to the community in the weeks leading up to and on Halloween checking on registered sex offenders to ensure they are following these rules. The team specifically focuses on offenders who are fugitives or who have warrants for their arrest. They round up these offenders before Halloween festivities get underway, demonstrating the commitment these agencies have for protecting one of our most precious resources, children, from an often hidden danger.
The state of Arizona has approximately 15,000 registered sex offenders currently residing in our population and these offenders are often wanted for crimes against children. Operation Safe Treat was created to identify and apprehend these offenders en masse and ensure that supervised sex offenders, as well as those on warrant, are complying with their terms of probation and are not participating in any Halloween activities. Since starting Operation Safe Treat, several high-profile and dangerous offenders have been identified and apprehended. For example, a 29-year-old previously convicted of brutally raping a victim under the age of 15 was arrested because of Operation Safe Treat. The offender was required to register as a sex offender, but he ultimately cut off his GPS electronic monitoring device and fled. Through Operation Safe Treat, he was identified and arrested in the Valley on Halloween 2016. In addition, the Operation has found unregistered offenders living near schools while others have attempted to hide by working for cash or in shelters. In at least one instance an offender was located who faked his own death.

Operation Safe Treat

In 2015, staff in the MCAO Sex Crimes Bureau became aware of the high number of defendants on the Initial Appearance Court Calendar who failed to appear. In a large majority of instances, these offenders were charged with sex-based offenses and/or criminal offenses involving children. These prosecutors, detectives and support staff determined they could have an impact on the issue by making a large and proactive effort to identify where these offenders were residing. The Bureau reached out to the Marshal’s Office and Maricopa County Probation and initiated some group meetings to determine the size of the problem and the number of resources needed. Although currently Operation Safe Treat is concentrated on offenders specifically from the Sex Crime Bureaus, plans are underway to spread the identification and round-up to other bureaus and groups of offenders within the Office. The MCAO then approached the Adam Walsh Foundation for assistance with research on these offenders. At no cost to the team, analysts at the Adam Walsh Foundation conduct research on cases, warrants and offenders that the MCAO provides -- some of which are more than 20 years old. The analysts package up their results and return “positive hits” to the team so they can gauge the resources required. The analysts note which offenders are most likely to be found and the team prioritizes warrants based on this information. It takes about two weeks for the Adam Walsh Foundation to research and complete the information for the team; so given the emphasis on the Halloween apprehension, the MCAO sends the list to Adam Walsh in September each year. As a result of the work with Adam Walsh and the follow-up identification by members of Operation Safe Treat, they have found offenders across the country, not just in Arizona. MCAO Commander Bruce Walls agrees, “The search results have been productive and geographically diverse. This team does a fantastic job identifying and apprehending dangerous predators and keeping them away from our kids.”
Apprehensions because of Operation Safe Treat have been increasing since 2015. Offenders charged with offenses like child molestation, child abuse, failure to register and sex assault have been identified and apprehended. Statewide, the successes have been equally positive with nearly 200 offenders apprehended since 2015. In addition, trial outcomes on many of these cases has been positive and resulted in lifetime probation and years in the Arizona Department of Corrections. In addition, nearly all of the offenders are ordered to repay the agencies the cost of extradition in addition to other related fees. This year the National Association of Counties (NACo) recognized Operation Safe Treat with an Annual Achievement Award. “Operation Safe Treat helps protect our most vulnerable asset, children, “ said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This should be a fun time of year for children and their families, trick-or-treating, costumes and candy. Operation Safe Treat ensures neighborhood safety and keeps dangerous sex offenders off the streets.”

Learn More About Criminal Justice at the
MCAO Citizens Academy

MCAO Citizens Academy

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a prosecutor, or how a criminal case gets to trial, our Citizens Academy is for you. Applications are now being accepted for winter and spring sessions.

The Citizens Academy takes you behind the scenes to show you how a case progresses from the initial investigation through final sentencing. You’ll sit in on courtroom proceedings, take a tour of the jail, and learn about trial exhibits, cold case investigations and more.

Classes last one full day, and upcoming dates are listed below. Classes fill up fast, so apply early.

For more information and to register, visit:

Upcoming Dates

October 25, 2018
November 14, 2018
December 13, 2018

Applications due 2 weeks before class date
Stay tuned for 2019 dates

Much not told in ACLU report on criminal justice

This opinion originally appeared in the Arizona Capitol Times, September 13, 2018

Arizona’s criminal statutes defining crimes and providing for sentences have worked to protect Arizonans and enhance public safety. Between 2000 and 2016, Arizona’s overall crime rate has fallen 41 percent. Since requiring offenders to serve at least 85 percent of their time for the majority of felonies committed in our state, what is called “truth in sentencing,” Arizona’s overall crime rate has fallen by 58 percent. You would not know that, though, if you only read the ACLU’s “Blueprint for Smart Justice.” You also would not know that 95 percent of Arizona’s inmates are incarcerated for a violent offense, having repeatedly committed felonies, or both.

Simply reading the ACLU’s letter in the Arizona Capitol Times on September 7, 2018, you would not know that for every violent crime and for the majority of property crimes, there is a crime victim. You would not know that by incarcerating those most responsible for the amount of crime in our community and the violence perpetrated against our fellow citizens saves our society and criminal justice system money by preventing additional crimes and victims. You also would have a vastly skewed understanding of how a felony sentence is imposed.

For 70 percent of the criminal offenses sentenced each year, offenders are sentenced to probation. Those numbers also hold for us in Maricopa County where we additionally offer diversion and deferred prosecution programs for substance abuse and first time felons, something left out of the ACLU Report, as well. In fact, our Felony Pretrial Intervention Program has proven to be of great success. Started in July of 2015, 262 people had completed the program, and as of July 2018, only 14 had committed a new felony. That’s a recidivism rate of just 5 percent. Yes, we are expanding that program as a result.

As for the numbers of currently incarcerated drug offenders, the ACLU’s Report and letter continue to push a narrative that ignores the environment in which crime is committed and the criminal histories of those incarcerated. Looking at current statistics, 11.3 percent of those in Arizona’s prisons are incarcerated for drug sales/trafficking. Of that percentage, 24 percent are criminal aliens. With the continuing reality that Arizona is a major thoroughfare for drug smuggling into the United States due to the exploitation of our unsecured southern border by Mexican drug cartels, it is no wonder that we see these numbers. Relatedly, according to the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, Arizona has the third highest number of incarcerated criminal aliens behind only Florida and Texas. That helps place into context the percentage of incarcerated Latinos in Arizona prisons. But you wouldn’t know about those numbers or the overall criminal environment if all you read was the ACLU Report or letter of September 7.

With respect to drug possession offenders, and using data from the Department of Corrections for October 2017, 3,775 were incarcerated for drug possession. In the breakdown of the numbers, 235, or .6 percent were incarcerated for marijuana, methamphetamine amounted to 2,469 or 65.4 percent, and other drugs amounted to 1,071 or 28.4 percent. Of the 3,775, 46.5 percent had a violent prior felony offense and over 97 percent had a prior felony conviction. For the percentage without a prior felony, in Maricopa County the typical inmate had been convicted of an offense related to heroin or methamphetamine and refused drug treatment and/or rejected probation, which are almost the exclusive means for going to prison for the first time on a drug offense and only after being given multiple opportunities to succeed.

Having highlighted the gross deficiencies in the ACLU’s Report and the September letter, there are significant areas of agreement to address future performance of our state’s criminal justice system. I would like to see a significant reduction in the state’s prison population as a result of reducing recidivism and we have a lot of room to work with here. The most recent DOC monthly report, available at, states “[s]eventy-seven percent of inmates assessed at intake have significant substance abuse histories.” Yet only 711 or 1.7 percent receive addiction treatment.

What if we provided substance abuse treatment from the point of admission, and cognitive behavioral treatment? What if we just started with drug possession offenders? Re-entry programs are showing significant promise in reducing recidivism and so are diversion and deferred prosecution programs utilizing substance abuse treatment and cognitive behavioral therapies. We should be implementing similar programs over the duration of an inmate’s incarceration. Then, by reducing recidivism we can manage a steady reduction in the prison population without gambling on public safety, and Arizonans would be able to enjoy parks, educational opportunities, visit our libraries, and take advantage of health services in safety.

Law Enforcement Partnership Leads to 20 Arrests,
Public Reminded of Safety Tips on Public Transit

Light Rail Thief

Through a partnership with the Phoenix Police Department, Transit Security and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, 20 people were recently arrested for crimes committed in and around public transit starting in the middle of December 2017 and continuing through the middle of May 2018. Those arrested range from youth in their teens to young adults and while almost all are being charged with assisting a criminal syndicate, primary crimes charged include: aggravated robbery, theft from a person, and burglary.
These suspects worked in groups as small as two people and as large as seven to target and steal from innocent victims who were riding the light rail or a bus or were waiting near light rail stations and bus stops. The suspects used public transportation from areas around 19th Avenue and Camelback to travel in and around Downtown Phoenix. Individuals targeted appeared distracted, had valuable electronics that were visible, and did not keep bags and personal items close to them at all times.
Investigators and prosecutors worked together to identify and build cases against the suspects linked to almost a dozen incidents that occurred and were reported over the five month period. To minimize the chance of being a victim of theft or robbery, stay alert, conceal valuable purchases from easy view, and keep items close to you at all times. These important safety measures are recommended to anyone using public transit.
As always if you see something, say something. You can reach out to the numbers below with a security concern on the light rail system, or, if it is an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Phoenix Police Non-Emergency 602-262-615

Valley Metro Customer Service 602-253-5000

Bully Free AZ

Bully Free AZ Sponsors

It’s no secret, America has a bullying problem. As community members we see and hear campaigns for students to be kind to one another, yet according to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, 28% of U.S. students in grades 6-12 still report being bullied. There is often a disconnect between what young people experience as bullying and what adults see and many times adults don’t know how to respond.
Solutions to bullying are not simple, but community approaches show the most promise. That’s why the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is partnering with 92.3 FM KTAR News and 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station for National Bullying Prevention Month for a Bully Free AZ. Throughout the month of October, you can help end bullying in Arizona by pledging your commitment to educate yourself and your family about how to spot bullying and how to stop it.
Studies have shown that adults and parents can help prevent bullying by keeping the lines of
communication open and encouraging children to get help when they are involved in bullying or know others who need help. By taking the online Bully Free pledge you too can get the conversation started with your family with help from resources provided by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Be sure to submit your pledge to help us end bullying in Arizona at:

Football Patrol Update

Wow! Seven of ten games of the football season are in the books, and what a year it has been!
So far, 7,813 students around Maricopa County have signed the pledge to stay drug and alcohol free.
That’s 57.25 percent of the student body for the schools we’ve visited.

Just three more games to go! Let’s beat last year’s record!

Friday Night Football Patrol Images

Community Calendar

Upcoming Events Calendar

Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, October 5
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Mountain Ridge High School
22800 North 67th Avenue
Glendale, AZ 85310


Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, October 12
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sandra Day O'Connor High School
25250 North 35th Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85083


Peoria GAIN

Saturday, October 13
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Pioneer Park
8755 North 83rd Avenue
Peoria, AZ 85345 


Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, October 19
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Agua Fria High School
530 East Riley Drive
Avondale, AZ 85323


Glendale GAIN

Saturday, October 27
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sahuaro Ranch Park
9802 North 59th Avenue
Glendale, AZ 85302


MCAO Booth @ Arizona State Fair

Saturday, October 27
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 28
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Arizona State Fairgrounds
1826 West McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85007


Veteran’s Day Parade

Monday, November 12
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Starting at North Phoenix Baptist Church
5757 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Visit for Route and More Info

Cases of Community Interest

Mugshot Christopher Brown

Christopher Brown Sentenced to 14 Years for Sex Trafficking

Christopher Brown was sentenced to 14 years in the Department of Corrections for sex trafficking, receiving earnings of a prostitute, pandering, and assault. Brown was arrested as a part of a January 2018 operation by the Human Trafficking Task Force.

“This sentencing shows this Office’s commitment to holding sex traffickers fully responsible for their criminal actions and should serve as an example of the type of sentencing we will pursue for anyone who desires to gain personal profit through preying on vulnerable victims,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

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