Chart: Arizona Prison Population and Crime Rate 1985 – 2013

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As of 2013, FBI statistics show that the crime rate has fallen 4.4% nationally over 2012 estimates overall, and 5.1% for violent crimes. This continues a decade long trend which has seen a 14.5% decrease in national crime rates since 2004. Ironically, according to a November Gallup poll, the public perception is that crime is trending upward.

Arizona is ahead of the nation in terms of the decrease in crime. DPS statistics show a 5.7% drop in overall crime from 2012 to 2013. A major public safety goal of the criminal justice system is keeping the offender off the street thus rendering the criminal unable to offend. The corollary is the decrease in the number of victims of crime in our society.

Since 1985, and continuing even after the introduction of Truth in Sentencing and the introduction of drug treatment for first and second time offenders, the crime rate has dropped at an increasing rate. It should be noted that while the overall number of persons in prison has risen (which is expected as the more serious the crime, the longer one remains), the growth in the prison population has increased 21%(8,823/41,031) between 1985 and 2014 while the Arizona population has grown 48% over that same period (3,183,539/6,626,624).