Report: crime decreases in first half of 2008
A recent report on city crime shows a decrease for the first half of 2008.
St. Petersburg's Uniform Crime Report data indicate a 3.6 percent reduction in citywide crime when compared to the first six months of 2007.
Violent crimes were down 14.3 percent, and property crimes were down 0.9 percent.
Midtown data showed more significant reductions during the same period, with a 13.8 percent reduction in overall crime. Violent crime in this area was down 19.4 percent, and property crimes decreased 11 percent.
There have been 16 homicides so far this year, the same number at this point in 2007. Police investigate an average of 25 homicides every year.
Crimes involving firearms increased steadily nationwide after 2005, and St. Petersburg was no different, but this trend has leveled off this year, with 467 such crimes in the first six months of 2008 compared with 466 at this point in 2007.
In an effort to reduce gun violence, Chief Chuck Harmon recently implemented a "preferred arrest" policy for all firearm-related crimes that is similar to guidelines for handling domestic violence cases.
The new procedures require an officer to pursue prosecution in all gun offenses, regardless of victim cooperation.
Assistant Chief Luke Williams has also implemented a plan to address a recent uptick in violent crimes in Harbordale, Palmetto Park and Childs Park. Officers dedicated to this project have distributed thousands of door hangers to solicit information about crime and provide important city service telephone numbers.
William Proffitt, St. Petersburg police spokesman