FDLE: Despite more murders, state’s crime rate drops by 9%


TALLAHASSEE – The crime rate in Florida fell by 9%, according to the 2018 Annual Uniform Crime Report, marking the 48th consecutive year Florida has seen a drop in its crime rate. The report also shows a 7.4% decrease of total index crimes, with 45,154 fewer reported offenses compared to 2017.

“The fall of overall crime rates in 2018 is great news for all Floridians, but there’s still more work to be done,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “I recently met with Florida’s leading law enforcement officials to provide an update on the progress of the state’s threat assessment strategy, which I initiated in February in a request to FDLE Commissioner Swearingen. We must do everything we can to protect our citizens and visitors from senseless acts of targeted violence. My administration will continue to stand with our law enforcement personnel and move forward on key policies to protect our residents and keep our communities safe.”

Although Clay County had one fewer homicides, the county was one of the few to report an overall increase. There were four reported murders in 2017 and only three a year ago, FDLE said. But overall, the crime rate increased by 7.7%. The greatest increases were for rapes and robberies. Both were up by nearly 10.1%

“Florida is a stronger, safer state because of the men and women of law enforcement who face danger every day to protect their communities,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “I am deeply grateful for all they do to keep the state’s crime rate trending downward, but we must not forget that this 48-year drop in crime comes at a tremendous cost. Last year, Florida lost 11 law enforcement officers in the line of duty. We will never forget their sacrifices, nor the security we feel as a result of their courageous service. God bless the men and women who value our safety above their own.”

“The significant drop in our state’s overall crime rate is a testament to the hard work, dedication and proactive efforts of Florida’s sworn law enforcement officers,” said CFO Jimmy Patronis. “They work tirelessly to deter crime, so we can have thriving communities. I applaud the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as well as the entire law enforcement community for continuing to look for innovative ways to stay ahead of crime and keep the Sunshine State safe.”

Overall, violent crime offenses dropped 4.2% while property crimes fell 7.9%. The index crimes of robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft were down while murder and rape saw increases. Murder offenses increased by 50 total homicides, a 4.7% increase. This includes the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting.

“The continued drop in overall crime rate reflects the outstanding work done by Florida’s law enforcement officers in protecting Florida’s citizens and visitors. I appreciate the sacrifices they make and the risk they take every day to protect us,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “Embracing new strategies like behavioral threat assessment will enhance our crime prevention efforts. In addition, we must leverage progressive techniques for solving crimes like genetic genealogy.”

“Florida’s low crime rate is no accident. It is the result of hard work by our deputies, with the support from Florida’s strong public safety laws,” said President of the Florida Sheriffs Association and Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter. “A major reason we enjoy a 48-year low in the crime rate today is because criminals are serving the time they deserve and not creating more crime victims by receiving a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Florida’s ‘Truth in Sentencing’ laws have once again contributed to keeping our residents and visitors of the Sunshine State safe.”

The Annual UCR calculates both crime volume and crime rate throughout Florida. 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.


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