D. Safety Element

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Maricopa’s residents take comfort knowing they live in a safe community and where citizen involvement supports and upholds the value of safety and security in Maricopa. Maintaining a community in which all residents, businesses and visitors are safe requires the efficient and effective use of public safety resources and active citizen involvement in promoting safety and security in their own neighborhoods and community. There are two primary areas of real and perceived safety this element addresses: neighborhood safety and hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness.

2040 Vision: Maricopa is a safe and livable community in which citizen involvement supports and upholds the value of being safe and secure in one’s own community.

The Safety Element, in conjunction with the goals and policies of the Emergency Services section provide a framework to address the protection of the community from any risks associated with naturally occurring, human induced or national emergencies that could affect the City. Whether extreme climate, flooding, national disasters or even the handling and transportation of industrial chemicals, the City must be prepared to manage these risks through awareness and preparedness by way of adequate planning, staffing, training and infrastructure. This element establishes the framework to ensure the City’s ability to prevent, prepare, respond and recover from all to threats and hazards to the community.

Safe Neighborhoods

People want to feel they are safe when they are walking, biking, or traversing their community. Whether they are commuting to school or work, traveling on streets, or visiting parks and businesses, the community design plays an enormous part in the perception of safety and crime prevention. As a result, the design of a community can hinder or enhance people’s activities and willingness to engage within a community. Land use decisions play an important role in promoting citizen interaction through everyday activities within the neighborhood or community. Equally important is the role that perception can play in creating safe neighborhoods. Design techniques can help minimize perceived safety problems. Such techniques include creating neighborhoods and communities that provide integration and balance of uses; viewing streets as an amenity, requiring front porches and visible open spaces, and other semi-public areas to encourage community observation and interaction. Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) and Safescape principles play a vital part in promoting safe neighborhoods with the emphasis on natural surveillance, territorial reinforcement, natural access control, and hardening target areas.

The Emergency Services (Section II. H2.a) section in conjunction with the Neighborhood Preservation Element (Section II. B5) outline a comprehensive community policing policy, from land use and design strategies to coordinated neighborhood resources for effective communication and actions that address potential threats.

Hazard Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness

In recent decades, natural and human-caused disasters have led to increasing levels of death, injury, property damage, and interruption of business and government services across the United States. Not only do disaster events take a toll on families, individuals, businesses, and the area economy, but affected communities must devote significant time, money and effort to respond to and recover from these emergencies or disasters, often diverting public resources and attention from other important programs and problems.

Hazard mitigation planning can be an effective strategy for preventing or significantly reducing the impact of such hazards prior to their occurrence. The mitigation planning process involves identifying and profiling the natural hazards most likely to occur in a community, assessing the vulnerability of citizens and the critical community facilities and structures to these hazards, and establishing goals, actions, and projects that mitigate the associated risks.

Maricopa participates in regional planning for hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness with Pinal County Emergency Management. The Pinal County Emergency Response and Recovery Plan (ERRP) and EPA Pacific Southwest Region 2015 Emergency Prevention and Preparedness Plan Update, provide the framework for Maricopa’s hazard mitigation, preparedness and response program. The City will continue to participate in regional and local planning through preparation and updates to local strategies for Homeland Security and the City’s Emergency Operations Center focusing on an all-hazards response to critical infrastructure, pursuant to Objective H2.a.1.2 of this General Plan. The City’s Public Information Officer (PIO) maintains communications and distributes emergency messages to the community to prepare, during, and after a disaster. The messages are consistent with all agencies providing directions and actions to take during an emergency. Future plans that are developed must have provisions for communications, supplies, healthcare, law enforcement, and disaster relief. In addition, the plans must be revised and updated on a regular basis due to continued growth and development within the planning area.

Maricopa’s remote proximity to other urban areas requires close coordination of emergency response with the Ak-Chin, Gila River, and Pinal County. One of the most likely threats to Maricopa’s safety and loss of property is the likelihood of flood inundation. Priorities for City improvements to mitigate this threat are included throughout this General Plan. Floodplain mitigation solutions (see Sections II. C2 Floodways & Washes and H2.f Flood Control) adequate emergency access (see Objective E2.2.4) and public buildings that can serve as facilities for emergency response are all necessary to support an effective emergency management and response. Telecommunications infrastructure implemented by the MPD (see Section II. H2.a Emergency Services - Police) in conjunction with the regional dispatch system of MFP provides the telecommunications infrastructure to coordinate emergency response with surrounding agencies.

Providing medical response and protection against crime, natural and man-made disasters, fire, and flooding are primary concerns for City emergency services. Safety for both crime and disaster prevention can be increased through land use planning and community design. Hazards are further reduced by continued training, application of Zoning Code, Subdivision Ordinance, Fire and Building Codes, and regional cooperation. For the City of Maricopa the primary concern will be maintaining efficient services by locating new facilities and infrastructure as the community grows. Critical to this effort will be implementing emergency medical services and medical facilities as outlined in Section II. H2.d5 and 6.