Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State crime rate rises, local crime drops

After steadily falling for years, the state's crime rate slightly increased in 2007, according to an annual state crime report released Friday.

But Pinellas and Hillsborough counties both bucked the statewide trend.

Crime fell slightly in Pinellas and decreased significantly in Hillsborough, the state report says. Hernando County's crime rate per 100,000 population decreased by 4.6 percent in 2007. But the same crime measure rose in Pasco County by 0.07 percent.

The state's index crime rate increased 1.4 percent from 2006. There were 4,695 index crimes per 100,000 residents in 2007, up from 4,632 in 2006.

Index crimes include murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

Kristen Perezluha, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said it was too early to know the reason behind the increase.

"It's going to take some additional time to determine if we're seeing a long-term trend or if its unique to this year," Perez­luha said.

The 2007 increase is surprising since the state's crime index has decreased in recent years. Since 1997, the index crime rate has gone down by 35.7 percent.

In Hillsborough County, the crime rate dropped 7.9 percent, with fewer rapes, assaults, larcenies and a large drop in car theft.

Spokesman J.D. Calloway said the Sheriff's Office had saturated crime "hot spots" and launched a successful campaign to get citizens to lock their car doors.

"We do know we had a nice healthy drop in the crime rate," he said.

But he warned that it was hard to interpret the numbers, since there were so many variables from county to county.

In Pasco County, where the population swelled by 10,000 residents from 2006 to 2007, crime figures rose only slightly. The number of murders, which spiked to 28 in 2006, dropped to 18 in 2007.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll pointed to the agency's clearance rate — which refers, basically, to crimes being solved — of nearly 30 percent as a sign of success. The statewide clearance rate is 22 percent. "That shows an agency is working hard to combat crime," he said.

In Pinellas, the total index crime rate fell from 5,000 per 100,000 people in 2006 to 4,942 per 100,000 in 2007. That's a decrease of 1.1 percent.

Bill Doniel, a spokesman for the St. Petersburg police, said the decrease was welcome news and credited increased vigilance by local residents.

"Law enforcement throughout the Tampa Bay area must give credit to the citizens," Doniel said. "We've seen an involvement of the citizens in reporting crime and also reporting crime activity that leads to suspects and eventually an arrest."

Times staff writers Joel Anderson and Molly Moorhead contributed to this report. Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at or (727) 893-8472.

Hillsborough, Pinellas both see less crime

A county-by-county comparison of crime statistics from 2006 to 2007


Percent rate change per 100,000 population: down 7.9


Murder: 61

Forcible rape: 365

Robbery: 2,464

Aggravated assault: 6,369

Burglary: 11,607

Larceny: 34,179

Vehicle theft: 7,098


Murder: 67

Forcible rape: 324

Robbery: 2,670

Aggravated assault: 5,761

Burglary: 11,578

Larceny: 32,527

Vehicle theft: 5,711


Percent rate change: down 4.6


Murder: 5

Forcible rape: 70

Robbery: 60

Aggravated assault: 552

Burglary: 1,573

Larceny: 3,665

Vehicle theft: 293


Murder: 1

Forcible rape: 77

Robbery: 82

Aggravated assault: 557

Burglary: 1,639

Larceny: 3,429

Vehicle theft: 346


Percent rate change: up 0.07


Murder: 28

Forcible rape: 137

Robbery: 335

Aggravated assault: 1,317

Burglary: 4,430

Larceny: 9,559

Vehicle theft: 1,280


Murder: 18

Forcible rape: 139

Robbery: 360

Aggravated assault: 1,406

Burglary: 4,449

Larceny: 10,075

Vehicle theft: 1,169


Percent rate change: down 1.1


Murder: 40

Forcible rape: 453

Robbery: 1,652

Aggravated Assault: 5,188

Burglary: 8,407

Larceny: 27,002

Vehicle theft: 4,659


Murder: 57

Forcible rape: 400

Robbery: 1,865

Aggravated assault: 5,354

Burglary: 9,040

Larceny: 25,955

Vehicle theft: 3,992

Source: Florida Department of Law Enforcement

State crime rate rises, local crime drops 04/04/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 4, 2008 11:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Editorial: A proud moment for civic involvement in Hillsborough County


    It took private citizens less than 24 hours to do what their elected leaders in Hillsborough County could not for the past three months: Find the moral fortitude and the money to move a century-old Confederate war memorial from outside the county courthouse. Thursday's achievement was a lesson in leadership to county …

    The Hillsborough County Commission dithered for three months over moving the Memoria in Aeterna monument from the old county courthouse.
  2. Fort Myers woman arrested for doing cocaine off iPhone in parent pick-up line

    Bizarre News

    A Fort Myers woman was arrested Tuesday after police saw her snorting cocaine off her iPhone while in the parent pick-up line at a Lee County middle school.

    Christina Hester, 39, faces two different drug-related charges, according to police records. [Lee County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Tropical Storm Harvey forms in Atlantic


    UPDATE: At 5 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  4. Editorial: Pinellas should join lawsuit challenging new state law


    The Florida Legislature has been on a cynical, constitutionally dubious quest to render local school boards powerless. The most direct assault is a new state law that strips school boards of much of their authority when it comes to the creation and funding of charter schools. It's time for the Pinellas County School …

  5. Editorial: Fix funding unfairness in Florida foster care system


    Many of the children in Florida's foster care system already have been failed by their parents. The last thing these kids need is to be failed by bureaucracy, too, and yet that's exactly what appears to be happening because of a needlessly rigid funding formula set up by the Florida Legislature. Child welfare agencies …

    The Legislature may have had good intentions when it came up with the funding plan, but it’s obvious that there is some unfairness built into it. The funding may be complicated, but the goal is simple: Making sure every child in need gets the help he or she needs.