County to launch TV spots urging residents to report crime - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

UPDATE

County to launch TV spots urging residents to report crime

Posted: Updated:
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery (Source: CBS 5 News) Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Maricopa County residents are being urged to "step out of the shadows and report crime" in a series of new TV spots that will appear over the next 12 to 18 months.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery said the public service announcements emphasize that crime victims and witnesses need not fear an investigation into their immigration status.

"This is consistent with the guidance I have given law enforcement throughout Maricopa County and it is what I have repeated at multiple community events," Montgomery said in a statement. "Our first duty is to hold the offender accountable." 

The rate of violent crime in Maricopa County fell 2.3 percent in 2012 from the previous year, while property crimes dropped more than 14 percent, according to data compiled by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The reasons include improved policing, effective criminal sentencing, crime prevention programs and demographic changes.

"In order to continue this downward trend, people need to report crime when and where it occurs," Montgomery said.

The PSAs will begin airing next month and run throughout 2014. They will also be posted on the county attorney's website and distributed via social media.

Funds to produce the videos came from fees paid by possessors of controlled substances who participate in the Maricopa County Attorney's Office Deferred Prosecution Program.

Puente Arizona issued this statement in the wake of the spots:

"No police agency in Maricopa County guarantees that they will not ask victims or witnesses their immigration status. Indeed, we hear stories every day of people being arrested, sent to ICE, and facing deportation after calling the police for help.

"Montgomery's call on our community to come out of the shadows and report crime when he and his cronies have been making our lives miserable could be considered entrapment. He cannot claim to support us publicly and then collaborate with Arpaio and separate our families when he thinks the spotlight is off.

"If Montgomery truly wants to win the trust of the Latino community, he will stop prosecuting Arpaio's victims."

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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