As Thefts and STR Issues Intensify, Scottsdale Dials Up the Pressure

Photo by Arianna Grainey

You heard it here, how the country’s laissez faire approach to immigration enforcement may have led to a ring of burglaries in the area (read the story here). Also, the issue of short-term rental (STR) “party houses” has long been a hot-button issue in the city. Now both of these issues are coming to a head and getting the attention they deserve.

Police Chief Jeff Walther is now bringing both of these issues to the forefront. He notes that the theft rings are indeed a nationwide issue, but the culprits in this case were found swiftly. Will this bring an end to it? Probably not; but unlike some municipalities, where theft is treated with a slap on the wrist, it is safe to say that our area is not the most consequence-free for the culprits, and as such is a less enticing destination.

That said, considering the wealth in our area, the prizes will always be significant, so it’s difficult to believe that we will not face this same issue in the future.

STRs are a much stickier topic however, and one that may come to a head in the next week as the Final Four descends on the Valley (for those who are unaware, the Final Four constitutes the last three games of the “March Madness” college basketball tournament). Tens of thousands of fans will descend onto the area from the rest of the country, a potential perfect storm of loud parties and irritated residents.

While enforcing crime is much more cut and dry, enforcing the worst excesses of STRs is significantly more nebulous, since the state legislature essentially tied the hands of municipalities to create their own rules back in 2017. After a public outcry they eased these stipulations recently, but as Paradise Valley recently found out when trying to implement draconian rules meant to squash the industry in the town, municipalities are still somewhat limited.

Scottsdale is wisely seeking public input for potential regulations in the face of an uptick in problems. After all, who better to be able to comment than the people who are directly affected? What the residents want will likely not be viable from a legislative perspective however.

Ultimately, being an attractive potential target for burglars and for people who want to party is not a bad sign; after all, being a wealthy city that’s an attractive vacation destination is unequivocally positive. But all of these issues are coming in a vital year, an election year, and Mayor Ortega and the rest of city council would be well served to be as strict as they can in solving these problems.