Serving as the Chief of Police in Tucson, Chad Kasmar reflects on crime trends and statistics over the past couple of years.Chief Kasmar said there has been a decrease in violent crime as well as property crime.“That’s the good news. The bad news, again, is another trend we’re seeing across the country is more gun violence,” said Chief Kasmar.Last year, Tucson had about 870 non-fatal gun incidents. That’s up by 25% from 2021.“We’re seeing younger and younger and younger people be more involved and I’m talking 12, 14, 16-years-old being involved in gun crime,” said Chief Kasmar.Although there was an increase in gun crime, there was a decrease in homicides.“We did see a slight reduction in homicides last year, which we were happy about, we have about an 84% clearance rate, which is about 34% higher than the average in the country,” said Chief Kasmar.Already at 33,000 calls for service this year, some calls are now answered by mental health units first that work with the department.“We’re triaging those calls, 1,000 a month is a big deal. I think we have the capacity as we continue to scale the program to probably see that number eventually double,” Chief Kasmar said.Mental health within TPD has been one of Chief Kasmar’s priorities. The ‘Struggle Well’ program helps officers process experiences in the field learning how to better deal with them.“The good news is we’re investing in our staff, and how’s it working? It’s working because we broke about a five-year average of losing 5% of our commission staff a year, we slowed that down to 1% and so that’s a really big deal.
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