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Tucson had the highest robbery rate in Arizona in 2017, report shows

Posted at 4:51 PM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 19:59:42-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson had a higher robbery rate than any other city in Arizona in 2017. That’s according to a new report looking at FBI statistics. They looked at robberies across the board including in homes, stores or on a street corner. The FBI defines a robbery as someone taking something from someone else with force or the threat of force.

“They are not people we want walking our streets in our community,” said Sgt. Jack Woolridge.

Woolridge is the head of the Tucson Police Department's Robbery Unit.

“There is nothing more satisfying for me as a member of this community than to be able to catch bad guys and see that they get the justice they deserve.”

But according to the report from yourlocalsecurity.com Tucson had a higher robbery rate than any other city in Arizona in 2017. 1431 robberies took place in the Old Pueblo that year.

Woolridge sites a spike in gas station robberies that year. He believes they were driven by an increase in the price of cigarettes and a demand for them on the black market. But that still doesn't explain why the report says Tucson had the highest rate of robberies in 2017.

“I can make assumptions on this part based upon our opioid epidemic.”

Woolridge says the department started working with gas stations to help prevent robberies.

They suggested making the inside of the stores more visible, locking up tobacco and alcohol products, and changing their hours. He says there was a significant decrease in robberies from 2017 to 2018 and the arrest rate has gone up thanks to social media.

“You can see the growth of our social media sites in 2017, 2018, 2019 so now I put information out and I’m getting information out within days.”

Woolridge says he can't be sure why the report showed Tucson having the highest rate of robberies in Arizona in 2017, but he says with every arrest the numbers go down.

"Once we are able to take a robber off the street our robbery rates take a significant drop, it's one person doing a lot of the crimes.”

Woolridge says the arrest rate for bank robberies in nearly 100% in Tucson.