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Robberies by 'other' means — poison, explosives — decrease in Pasco

NEW PORT RICHEY — Robberies declined nearly 9 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said, but robberies by the usual methods of gun, knife or fist weren't the ones that really dropped.

It was robbery by pinning a victim against a wall with a wheelchair. And robbery by tire iron and flat-head screwdriver and metal pipe. Taser. Nunchakus.

The robbery subcategory of "other" decreased by 46.3 percent, according to annual crime statistics released Wednesday by the Sheriff's Office. Robbery by firearm decreased slightly, robbery by knife stayed the same and robbery by fists increased 6.3 percent. The "other" category includes all miscellaneous weapons, such as pillows to suffocate a victim, poison and explosives, said sheriff's spokeswoman Melanie Snow.

The agency's clearance rate on making arrests for robberies also increased slightly from 49.4 percent in 2011 to 51.1 percent in 2012, Snow said.

Other crimes that decreased in 2012 were the following:

• Burglaries, down 12.3 percent.

• Larceny, down 12.4 percent.

• Domestic violence, down 2.1 percent.

Murders in the Sheriff's Office's jurisdiction stayed the same, with 11 homicides each in 2011 and 2012. Aggravated assaults increased by 4.7 percent, and motor vehicle thefts increased by 4.4 percent.

Forcible sex offenses showed a dizzying increase of 312.5 percent — but the Sheriff's Office said that is only because the agency expanded the way it reports data on such offenses. Last year, the agency added 17 subcategories of sexual offenses that weren't previously included in the annual crime statistics. It used to report general lewd acts but not various lewd charges based on the age of the victim. Now all of those charges are included.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco credited the decrease in some crime categories to the agency's use of intelligence-led policing, which focuses on gathering and sharing data to target offenders and break criminal patterns.

Lt. Brian Prescott, head of the intelligence-led policing division, said patrol deputies no longer wait for calls. If deputies aren't responding to a situation, he said, they are knocking on doors, looking for fugitives and checking on known offenders.

He said 21 percent of burglaries, robberies and auto break-ins happen within just 2.3 percent of the sheriff's jurisdiction. And in those crimes, 52 percent of the criminals live within a mile of their victims.

Special teams target those areas to track offenders and work with the community to get residents comfortable with reporting crimes. Prescott did not want to disclose the targeted areas but said there has been progress.

Robberies by 'other' means — poison, explosives — decrease in Pasco 02/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:28pm]
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