The report notes that the state's overall crime-index rate, based on criminal acts on a per-capita basis, dropped 17.3 percent between 1993 and 2003, but adds that the national decrease was almost 25 percent in the same period. Over the same period, Arizona incidents of murder increased by 11.3 percent, and rape increased by 12.9 percent.
Funding for law enforcement agencies has not kept pace with Arizona's population growth, and federal funds are on the decline, according to the report.
Tucson police suggest that when you remove beer theft, the rates drop considerably--which will no doubt relieve burglary victims around town.
The good news: That's up from last year's ranking of 45th, as Arizona surpassed Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and West Virginia.
Among the worst indicators: Arizona (in a tie with Louisiana) leads the nation in the percentage of high school drop-outs, with 12 percent of kids not finishing school. The national rate was 8 percent.
The report also noted that only 23 percent of fourth-graders are proficient in reading, compared to 30 percent nationally (putting Arizona at 43rd); 16 percent of kids lack health insurance (48th); 22 percent of kids live in homes where the head of the household failed to finish high school (45th); and 36 percent of kids live in families where no parent has had year-round, full-time employment (41st).
The tiny raptor's listing in 1997, forced by a lawsuit by the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, dramatically slowed development on Tucson's northwest side and paved the way for Pima County to create the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.
Following a lawsuit by the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association, a federal appeals court ruled two years ago that the Fish and Wildlife Service erred in its original decision to list the owl as endangered. A federal judge in Arizona then ordered the federal agency to take another look at whether the owl, which has nearly vanished from Southern Arizona, is really in serious danger of extinction.
"Our re-evaluation indicates the Arizona population doesn't meet the court's standards," said Joy Nicholopoulos, the Fish and Wildlife Service southwest assistant regional director.
The induction ceremony is Saturday, Oct. 16, from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Cost of dinner is $45, and tickets can be had by calling the Hall of Fame at 296-3788. The Hall, in La Placita at 260 S. Church Ave., is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $2 adults, $1 seniors, and free to kids under 14.