TAMPA — As the first woman to lead the Tampa Police Department and one of only two female chiefs in the nation, Jane Castor knows the bar is set higher for her.
If she messes up, she says, some will say it's because she's a woman.
Speaking Wednesday at a luncheon of the League of Women Voters, Castor spoke of the challenges she has faced in her first full year as Tampa's police chief and the results her leadership has produced.
They include a 12.4 percent reduction in crime in 2010, when the department's goal was to reduce it by 5 percent.
"Being a good guy is easy, but leaders are made by making the tough decisions for the right reasons," Castor said. "My goal is that when I retire, I leave this organization better than when I found it and I prepare the next chief to do the same."
The Police Department's new crime data for 2010 shows a 61.5 percent reduction during Mayor Pam Iorio's eight-year tenure, Castor said. In 2010, there were 20,000 fewer victims of crime in Tampa than a year earlier.
She attributed the reduction to a number of factors, most notably the renewed emphasis on community policing.
The department continuously retools its focus on particular areas and specific crimes, Castor said. Citizens are most concerned with property crimes, including robbery, auto theft and burglary, she said.
Focusing on those crimes, she said, is part of what brought the rate down.
Dan Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3321.