Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Credit card fraud, gang activity and other crime issues

Vandalism

A lot of the vandalism reports in unincorporated Hillsborough are self-initiated by sheriff's deputies and officials. Community resource deputies carry cans of spray paint so they can quickly paint over racist or hateful graffiti as soon as they see it. Unincorporated Hillsborough had about 84 percent more vandalism complaints than the city in 2009, but it covers eight times the area. Last year, Tampa had 7.8 vandalism incidents per 1,000 residents, while the county had 6.1 incidents per 1,000 residents, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Looking at it another way, Tampa had roughly 25 vandalism incidents per square mile, while the Sheriff's Office had just over five incidents per square mile.

— Richard Danielson
Credit card fraud

Economic crimes, such as credit card fraud are a problem, but not one that local police can gauge. When a credit card is stolen, owners contact banks or banks contact owners — rarely does anyone file a report with his local police department. Still, police have added an additional officer within the past year to deal with the increased reports of credit card fraud, check fraud, embezzlement and other economic scams and illegal schemes police are seeing.

— Justin George

Gang activity

Unincorporated Hillsborough has a population that's more than twice as big as Tampa's, and so it has correspondingly more gang members than does the city. Much of the vandalism comes from gang members who want to tag fences, signs and other surfaces with their insignia.

A lot of the Latino gangs are in areas like Town 'N Country, Dover, Wimauma and Ruskin.

"There's not one high school in Hillsborough County that doesn't have some kind of gang issue or influence in there," Sheriff David Gee said. "Now there are some schools that are much worse than others, depending on where they're located."

— Richard Danielson

Gated communities

Residents of gated communities like Cheval, Avila and FishHawk Ranch shouldn't assume they don't have to be vigilant, authorities say. They do. Criminals can and do jump over or breach the fences in such communities, sheriff's officials said. Sometimes kids in those communities victimize their neighbors. Plus people do come in to cut the grass and provide other services, so residents are not as isolated as they often think.

The homeless

The homeless contribute to crime in areas such as Brandon, the University Area and Town 'N Country. Homeless camps turn up in wooded areas near off ramps from interstates and major roads. These areas often look built-up, "but if you fly over in the helicopter, you see a lot of little lots," Gee said. In each camp, there might be one or two homeless people who are committing crimes, he said. When these camps crop up, the Sheriff's Office gets reports of thefts, such as nighttime business burglaries. But it's difficult to say how many such crimes are committed by the homeless because, nationally, the rate at which property crimes are solved is relatively low.

— Richard Danielson

Credit card fraud, gang activity and other crime issues 04/08/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 8, 2010 3:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay small businesses give Tampa B+ for regulatory climate

    Corporate

    In a recent survey about small business sentiments toward state and local government policies that affect them, Tampa Bay ranked at No. 25 out of 80 — a B+ overall.

    Tampa Bay ranked No. 25 out of 80 in a recent survey about how small business owners feel about state and local government policies that affect them. | [Times file photo]
  2. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  3. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers

    Crime

    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  5. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)

    War

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.