The Problem Solving Prosecutor: Improving the Quality of Life of Our Communities

The Problem Solving Prosecutor: Improving the Quality of Life of Our Communities
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-05-25
Unit 1Presentation Materials: The Problem Solving Prosecutor: Improving the Quality of Life of Our Communities
Unit 2Transcript: The Problem Solving Prosecutor: Improving the Quality of Life of Our Communities
Unit 3Workbook: The Problem Solving Prosecutor: Improving the Quality of Life of Our Communities
Unit 4Recording: The Problem Solving Prosecutor: Improving the Quality of Life of Our Communities

Phoenix, Arizona is utilizing out-of-the-box approaches to improve the quality of life within their communities. One of the ways they’re doing this is through Community Prosecution. The concept is an offshoot of community policing where efforts are focused on addressing the needs of the community to prevent the potential for crimes and other nuisances.

Discussing how Phoenix implemented Community Prosecution are Hilary Weinberg and Alex Lange. Hilary Weinberg is the Assistant City Prosecutor in Phoenix, Arizona who has extensive experience working in different units. Meanwhile, Alex Lange is the Community Prosecutor for Desert Horizon and Mountain View, Phoenix Police precincts since 2021.

Specifics of the presentation covered:

  • What Community Based Prosecution is, its goals, and its approaches.
  • How community prosecution came to be in Phoenix, the basis of the model, and its roots in community policing.
  • The concept of the Broken Windows Theory which serves as the impetus and highlights the importance of a proactive approach to control disorder and criminality.
  • The benefits of community prosecution in terms of improving the community’s quality of life, building trust and partnership, and embedding prosecutors in the community for creative problem-solving.
  • The principles of community prosecution –the community’s role in public safety and engaging them in problem-solving, leveraging partnerships, and evaluating the outcomes – and what each of these look like.
  • An overview of the organizational structure of Phoenix’s Community Bureau and Community Safety Plan.
  • A rundown of the specialty courts’ goals and the treatment plans available.
  • The enforcement mechanisms available for code enforcement violations.
  • Examples of cases where prosecutors proactive action through the community bureau was able to address issues.
    • Managing slumlord properties in partnership with the Neighborhood Services Department.
    • Liquor license applications where the community can weigh in on approval or disapproval of licenses.
    • Criminal nuisance abatement in venues where persons gather engaging in unlawful conduct.
    • The Misdemeanor Repeat Offender Program (MROP) which aims to secure some long-term solutions to prevent repeat offending.
    • The Surface Transportation Top Offender Program (STOP) that balances the privilege of using public transit with public safety.
    • Specialty courts that provide support for people with behavioral health issues, veterans with PTSD, and unsheltered individuals.
    • Various code enforcement issues that create dangerous conditions and public safety concerns in the community.
    • Other administrative work through meetings and training that provide proactive solutions to community issues.

Questions from the webinar participants are about:

  • How community feedback is solicited,
  • Hot-button issues that communities in Phoenix are facing.
  • Whether the Community Bureau likewise works on organized retail crimes.
  • Cases involving nuisance pets and animals in the community.

 

Resources and Handouts

 

Audience Comments

  • “I appreciated the information regarding the different courts the City of Phoenix runs.” – Vera
  • “This was an excellent seminar. Very common sense approach to tackling difficult community problems.” — Kim
  • “Great speakers and interesting topic!” — Hilary

 

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