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CRIME STATS GIVE US A MIRROR ON OUR COMMUNITY

St. Petersburg

Last week, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement released its 2008 semiannual report on Uniform Crime Report data.

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

The report indicated 434,563 index crimes in Florida during the first six months of 2008, a 1.6 percent increase compared to the same period in 2007.

St. Petersburg's UCR data defied the statewide trend with a 3.6 percent decrease in index crimes.

FDLE provides a collection of crime data at the Florida Statistical Analysis Center. Their Web site, www.fdle.state.fl.us/fsac, contains everything about crime in our state.

For example, firearm-related crimes dropped steadily from 1998 to 2004, then increased significantly in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Domestic violence cases have dropped steadily each year over the past 10 years.

The Web site also provides links for researching sexual offenders, conducting criminal background checks or reviewing a detailed analysis of convicted drug offenders.

The site also has an interesting feature called the Florida Crime Clock, indicating the frequency of crime in the state. For instance, a violent crime is reported every four minutes. A burglary, every three minutes.

Crime statistics help remind us to fine-tune our instincts and be more alert to suspicious activity.

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