JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Action News has learned crime in the Sunshine State is at a 41-year low. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)’s 2012 semi-annual uniform crime report, we’ve been on a steady decline since 2008.
“This is a good day for crime: It’s down. Criminals know in our state that we're going to hold them accountable. We’re going to put them in prison if they do the wrong thing and they’re going to serve their time,” said Gov. Rick Scott.
Since this time last year, Florida’s crime rate has dropped 3.8 percent.
In Northeast Florida, counties are also showing a decline.
Here’s the breakdown:
In Duval County, crime is down 3.7 percent. In St. Johns County, it’s down 3.2 percent. In Nassau County, it’s down 5.5 percent. In Clay County, it’s down 9.0 percent. In Columbia County, it’s down 7.4 percent. In Putnam County, it’s down 13.3 percent. In Baker County, it’s down 20.2 percent. In Bradford County, it’s down 68.7 percent.
"It’s the sheriffs, the police chiefs, the prosecutors, it's the system. The system is working hand in hand and that's why we're still seeing this decrease,” said FDLE Special Agent In Charge Dominick Pape.
But Pape isn’t as excited about the news as the governor. He points to budget cuts and layoffs as potential wrenches in the progress.
"I do know that certain sheriff departments are taking some major financial hits and the question is will that have an impact on these rates. I don't know,” said Pape.
Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford released this statement regarding the findings:
“Based on today’s report, I continue to be cautiously optimistic about the indications that our three year downward trend in crime is continuing in 2012. We closely monitor all crime activity in Jacksonville, and will continue to do so.
Keep in mind the FDLE mid-year report has no predictive value for where the year will end, especially in light of the upticks in crime that occur later in the year, each year. Despite that fact, for the past three years our efforts have effected a reduction in both violent crime and crime overall, with Jacksonville experiencing the lowest number of reported crimes in 2011 (41,295) since record keeping began 40 years ago.
This is why we remain focused on our expert crime intelligence analysis function – the study of crimes, trends, patterns, the mining of data and information – so we can continue to deploy our resources strategically, for the best possible outcomes.
Through this operational rigor, we can quickly determine what is working tactically, as we solve and prevent crime and protect citizens. Fiscally, we run the agency using lean business practices (“least waste way”) without compromising our services and outcomes. Again, through careful monitoring of crime, I can best determine what, if any, impact our recent cuts in personnel and positions might be having on crime. That is a determination I can make only after seeing the whole year’s results for 2012.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the men and women of this great agency for their commitment, especially as we move forward with a laser focus on intelligence-led policing and using all resources wisely; I would also like to thank the thousands of citizens who engage with us – whether they join a ShAdCo
(Sheriff’s Advisory Council) and come to meetings, or pick up the phone or tweet us with a crime tip or concern about something in the city or on their street. And, as always, I offer my deepest gratitude to the State Attorney’s Office for their dedication in working with us and prosecuting those individuals who degrade our community because of their criminal acts.”
The complete 2012 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report, including county-by-county breakdowns, can be found on FDLE’s website at www.fdle.state.fl.us/fsac/ucr/