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Crime Trackers: Community Problems Unit has high success clearing cases

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Many of the cases the unit investigates crosses into other sections of the Criminal Investigations Division. Many of the cases the unit investigates crosses into other sections of the Criminal Investigations Division.
TUCSON - It's a division you don't hear much about, but the Community Problems Unit is among the busiest in the Pima County Sheriff's Department. 

The CPU investigates a wide array of crimes.

For example, last fall, they released a video showing someone driving a white truck doing donuts on school property. They eventually tracked down the driver and arrested him. Investigators said it was a student from Mountain View High School. He was charged with aggravated criminal damage.

Detective Lisa Johnson just closed a case involving 22-year-old Jesus Cota. He was caught on camera stealing more than $2,000 worth of beer from Circle K. He was charged with 30 counts of shoplifting and one count of theft. 

“The community problems unit works on general crimes basically, thefts, harassments, violations of court orders,” Detective Johnson said.

Many of the cases the unit investigates crosses into other sections of the Criminal Investigations Division. Six months ago, two men were arrested for vehicle break-ins . They were smashing windows from Sabino Canyon to the Rillito Riverwalk. They were busted after deputy's saw them break into a vehicle at the Reid Park Zoo.

They found the victims purse, a window puncher, cash and meth.

The Arson-Auto Theft unit took over the case .

Lt. Doug Hanna oversees CPU. It has eight detectives and one sergeant. 

“Generally the cases that come in to the community problems unit range per year annually, anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 cases,” said Hanna.

The unit clears, anywhere from 60 percent to 75 percent of those cases. Lt. Hanna said it couldn't be done without the help from the community.

“It really goes back to the philosophy and theory of policing. Sir Robert Peel, policing and police are the public," said Hanna. "The public are the police so it's definitely a partnership.”

The unit also combines experienced detectives with newly promoted detectives, in order to better protect the public.

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