Florida crime down in the first half of 2017TALLAHASSEE – Crime continues to fall across Florida according to the 2017 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report published by the Florida Department of …
Florida crime down in the first half of 2017
TALLAHASSEE – Crime continues to fall across Florida according to the 2017 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report published by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The report shows Florida’s crime volume dropped two percent or roughly 6,300 fewer reported index crimes compared to the first six months of 2016.
“Every day across Florida law enforcement officers at the state, local and federal levels work together to keep Florida citizens safe. Because of our partnerships Florida’s citizens and visitors are the safest they’ve been in more than 46 years,” said Rick Swearingen, FDLE commissioner.
“Each and every day, the brave men and women of Florida’s law enforcement community selflessly work to keep our neighborhoods safe and as Florida’s crime rate continues to drop, we’re reminded of their important and life-saving work. Today, Floridians and visitors are the safest they’ve been in nearly a half -century and we will continue to fully support our law enforcement members as they work to make the Sunshine State the safest place to raise a family,” Gov. Rick Scott said.
Attorney General Pam Bondi said the drop in crime is a testament to the hard work, dedication and sacrifice of Florida’s law enforcement community.
“I want to thank all of our law enforcement officers and our state prosecutors for their continued success fighting crime and protecting Floridians,” Bondi said.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said the declining crime rate is a reflection of law enforcement’s commitment to safety.
“I offer my deepest appreciation for the sacrifices that the men and women in blue have made for the well-being of Florida’s families, friends and neighbors,” Patronis said.
The crimes of murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and larceny were down in this report while the crimes of rape and motor vehicle theft increased. Domestic violence fell one percent, with domestic violence murder and aggravated assault down while rape and stalking were up.
“The continued reduction in crime, throughout the state of Florida, is a direct result of the coordinated efforts of law enforcement, from the highest-ranking leadership to our patrol officers and deputies. From innovative task force operations to dedicated education and enforcement, we stay committed to ensuring the safety and security of our citizens,” said Michael Adkinson, president of the Florida Sheriffs Association and Walton County Sheriff.
President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association and Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin Lystad said, “As Florida’s crime continues to drop, I commend law enforcement leaders and officers across the state! Their unwavering dedication coupled with the laws we have in place to deter those bent on committing crime are clearly working. The Florida Police Chiefs throughout the state remain committed to working with our state and federal partners to keep Floridians safe.”
The Semi-Annual UCR calculates crime volume, the number of index crimes known to law enforcement. The report, including county-by-county breakdowns, can be found on FDLE’s website at http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/FSAC/UCR-Reports.aspx.
FDLE began tracking crime statistics in 1971.
Motel meth lab busted
ORANGE PARK – A Jacksonville woman was arrested for allegedly making methamphetamine in an Orange Park area extended stay motel.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Britney Dawn Sigmon, 30, on Nov. 27 after discovering chemicals used to make meth in her room at the InTown Suites, a long-stay motel on Blanding Boulevard near Orange Park.
After receiving a tip, deputies arrived at the motel and knocked on Sigmon’s door for what they call a “knock and talk” to determine the validity of their information. When Sigmon answered the door, the officers could smell that the room contained a methamphetamine lab and searched the room, eventually discovering the chemicals and other supplies used for manufacturing methamphetamine. Sigmon was arrested before police began the process for properly disposing of the lab equipment.
Sigmon was transported to the Clay County Jail where she faces a felony charge for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. She is being held on about $75,000 bond and was set to appear in court Tuesday morning.
Knife threat results in arrest
ORANGE PARK – An Orange Park man was arrested after allegedly threatening a man with a knife while the man was on break at work.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Marco Antonio Rivera, 60, on Nov. 27 after he was reported to have instigated an argument and then, as a result of the argument, threatened a man with a knife.
Rivera approached a man who was on break at work at a restaurant in the 900 block of Blanding Boulevard, threw the man’s bike to the ground and threatened him with a knife, according to the victim. Rivera had started an argument with the man on another occasion and the victim had called the sheriff’s office that day, which is what led to the man returning with a knife.
After listening to the victim’s testimony, deputies found Rivera at his house where he was arrested and taken to find the knife. Rivera was heavily intoxicated, according to the report, and slurring his speech, but deputies were able to get his version of the story as well as locate the knife which he had dropped somewhere near a Shell station on Blanding Boulevard.
Rivera was transported to the Clay County Jail where he was booked on a felony charge for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill, and is being held on a $25,000 bond. He was set to appear in court Tuesday morning following his arrest.
Gun-waving results in arrest
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A Green Cove Springs man has been arrested after reportedly waving a handgun around in public in August.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested Leeland Marshall Yelton, 61, on Nov. 27 after he was served a warrant for his arrest on Nov. 7.
According to Yelton’s neighbor, he was walking around the neighborhood, in the street, waving a handgun around recklessly while pointing the gun at houses in their neighborhood in the 3000 block of Susan Drive in Green Cove Springs. The report noted that deputies contacted him initially and according to Yelton, he never left his yard with the gun.
Following his arrest, Yelton was transported to Clay County Jail where he faces a misdemeanor charge for improper display of a firearm. His bail was initially set at about $2,500 and he has since been released.
Agitation, fuel additive ends in felony charges
MIDDLEBURG – A Middleburg man was arrested Thanksgiving week after becoming agitated and allegedly assaulting a man and a woman.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said Timothy Lewis Crowe, 48, was helping his friend fix his motorcycle on Nov. 21 around 5:30 p.m.. After about an hour, Crowe became agitated and threw fuel additive at his friend. When asked to leave, Crowe asked for the keys to the motorcycle. His friend refused and began walking back towards his house.
Crowe followed and according to the police report, received the keys because Crowe’s friend was afraid of what Crowe might do if he didn’t give him the keys. Crowe began riding the motorcycle in front of the house.
Police said, 15 minutes later, after being called about the scene, the female victim arrived and asked Crowe why he was doing what he was doing. The woman asked for the keys and Crowe threw them at the back of her car, where they bounced off and landed in a bush. Scared Crowe might attempt to take off in her car, she ran to her car to take the keys out of the ignition. Crowe chased after, grabbed her purse, hopped in the car and asked her to get in the car. She refused.
Police said, the woman ran towards the house, fleeing to safety. When police arrived, the woman had told them Crowe had fled the scene. Police later found Crowe naked and bleeding in a tool shed at the back of the residence, according to the police report.
Crowe was apprehended and walked to the front of the house. He was taken to Orange Park Medical Center before being transported to the Clay County Jail, where he is currently held. Crowe was charged with aggravated assault, robbery, aggravated battery, burglary to an auto, burglary of a dwelling and criminal mischief with an estimated $20,000 in property damage. His bond is set at $230,018.00
Meth charge, more for Middleburg man
MIDDLEBURG – A Middleburg man was arrested Nov. 23 at 1:50 a.m. after falling asleep in the driver’s seat of a car parked in a Kangaroo gas station parking lot.
Around 11 p.m. Wednesday, police were alerted of a suspicious vehicle parked at a Kangaroo located on County Road 218. When they arrived, they found Garth Michael Testani, 25, asleep in the car. He awoke and agreed to exit the vehicle. Police patted Testani down and he pulled out a syringe and placed it on the car, according to the police report.
Police began to search the vehicle where they found a little more than one gram of marijuana, used syringes, 11.4 grams of methamphetamine, morphine pills and alprazolam pills. As the search continued, police found half a gram of heroin, another third of a gram of meth, buprenorphine pills, oxycodone pills, methylphenidate pills and a small container with marijuana.
In the trunk of the vehicle, police found a pill bottle with a crushed substance, straws filled with an unknown substance, a bong, a magazine containing several bullets, a box of additional ammunition and a pipe used to smoke marijuana, according to the police report.
Testani was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to sell, possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription, possessing ammunition as a convicted felon and the possession of heroin. He is currently in the Clay County Jail with bond set at $83,016.