Monday, April 23, 2018
Public safety

Crime down 3.8 percent in state for first half of year

TAMPA — Crime continued to decline in Florida the first six months of 2012.

Reported crime fell 3.8 percent compared to the first six months of the previous year, according to statistics released Thursday by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Violent crime dropped 5.3 percent, and nonviolent crime declined 3.6 percent.

At a news conference, Gov. Rick Scott praised the state's law enforcement officers.

"They're doing a great job, and they're using new technology to put people in jail," he said.

Crime has dropped steadily for years, and law enforcement on Thursday continued to attribute the decline to proactive policing and new technology.

In Tampa, where crime dropped 7.4 percent, Assistant Police Chief John Bennett said the agency's success is due to a number of factors, including partnerships with other agencies, businesses and neighborhood groups, as well as the analysis of crime trends.

Tampa police track crime in each of their 240 grids and tailor their work to each area's crime trends, he said.

"Every neighborhood is unique, and we treat them as such," Bennett said.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said while crime decreased 2.4 percent countywide in Pinellas, in the Sheriff's Office's service area, it declined about 8 percent.

He said the decline can be attributed to proactive policing and aggressive response to violent crimes.

The agency has also used some unique strategies over the years, he said. About three years ago, when deputies were seeing a spike in car burglaries — mostly from unlocked cars — deputies walked neighborhoods at night locking cars and leaving behind notes explaining the danger.

"It's about being innovative with different types of programs," Gualtieri said.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

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