Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Overall, crime declined in Pasco County in 2009

NEW PORT RICHEY — Overall, crime in Pasco County declined last year: fewer burglaries and beatings and less shoplifting. But, within those numbers, there is one notable exception.

Domestic violence crimes shot up 25.8 percent over the previous year, according to statistics released Friday by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

Last year there were 3,363 cases of domestic violence — ranging from murder to assault and stalking — compared to 2,674 in 2008.

Although Pasco saw half as many murders — 11 last year, compared to 22 in 2008 — homicides related to domestic violence doubled from three to six.

"I'm not surprised," said Penny Morrill, director of Sunrise of Pasco County, a domestic violence shelter in east Pasco that offers shelter, counseling and other services to battered women.

Morrill said she believes part of it stems from the stress of the economy and foreclosure. Couples might stay in their abusive relationships longer because of fewer jobs and less money.

Morrill said to combat this increase, the community needs to get involved. If you know someone in an abusive situation, she said, call one of the abuse hotlines "and ask, 'What can I do to help?' "

She said the hotlines can help make a safety plan for the victim to get out of the situation. Sunrise's number is (352) 521-3120 and the toll-free Florida Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-500-1119.

Each year law enforcement agencies across the state tally their crimes and send the numbers to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The numbers released by the Sheriff's Office are preliminary — they haven't been checked and accepted by FDLE yet. Statistics for the city agencies in Pasco County — Dade City, Zephyrhills, New Port Richey and Port Richey — were not available Friday.

The overall crime rate dropped by 7.8 percent in unincorporated Pasco County in 2009, according to the Sheriff's Office. There were 14,835 reported crimes in 2009. Of those, 1,443 were violent.

"We have one of the lowest violent crime rates in the state," said Sheriff Bob White.

One factor fueling the decrease, he said, is his agency's high clearance rate — the number of cases closed by arrest. The statewide average is 24 percent. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office averages 31.7 percent, White said.

If criminals are in jail, he said, they're not out on the streets committing more crimes.

"It's not rocket science," he said. "You take the bad apples out of the bunch and the rest don't spoil as fast."

Although White said "we live in a safe county," he urged residents to do what they can to keep it that way and reduce their chances of being a victim. Shut your garage door. Lock your windows. Don't leave valuables —computers, handbags, prescription medication — in your cars.

"If they don't lock their cars, then it's an invitation" for criminals, White said.

In other county statistics:

• Forcible sex offenses, such as rape and fondling, decreased by 1.3 percent. There were 152 cases in 2009 and 154 in 2008.

• Aggravated assault was down 6.4 percent with 942 cases in 2009 and 1,006 in 2008.

• Burglary declined 5.7 percent. There were 3,809 cases in 2009 and 4,040 in 2008.

• Larceny — which includes thefts like shoplifting and purse-snatching — decreased 7.7 percent, from 9,452 in 2008 to 8,723 in 2009.

• Motor vehicle thefts were down 21.5 percent. In 2009, there were 860 vehicles stolen as opposed to 1,096 in 2008.

• Robbery cases increased last year by 7.3 percent. There were 338 cases in 2009 and 315 in 2008.

"We are always striving to do better," White said.

Considering the county's population increase and the area's difficult economic times, "we've been fortunate this year," he said.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Overall, crime declined in Pasco County in 2009 02/26/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 26, 2010 9:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Virginia special agent


    RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death.

    This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows law enforcement investigating the scene of a shooting early Saturday in Richmond, Va.   Special Agent Michael T. Walter, a Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man's arrest about an hour after the agent's death. Virginia State Police said in an emailed statement that Travis A. Ball of Richmond is being held without bond on charges that include malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. (Virginia State Police via AP)
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman says St. Petersburg mayoral election is about going forward, not back


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  3. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend


    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  4. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  5. Global computer outage grounds British flights


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)