Murders rose slightly through the first half of 2018, despite a drop of 8.0 percent in total crimes and a 6.8 percent drop in violent crime, according to a new report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
In FDLE’s Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report, the data showed an increase of 14 homicide statewide through June 2018 over the same period in 2017, rising from 531 to 545. The increase is almost entirely attributed to February’s shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman shot and killed 17 people.
For the most part, though, crime figures trended down, and state officials touted the numbers as an overall success. The state’s crime rate is the lowest since the FDLE began tracking statistics in 1971.
“Florida’s law enforcement partnerships work seamlessly together to proactively prevent and solve crimes. I appreciate the dedication of our law enforcement in protecting Florida’s communities, families and visitors,” FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said.
The state saw drops in robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larceny, vehicular theft, and domestic violence offenses, while murder and rape both rose slightly.
“The hard work of dedicated law enforcement professionals in our state continues to have positive results as Florida’s crime continues to decline,” said David Perry, president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “The Police Chiefs leading our agencies are committed to working with community members as well as their local, state and federal partners to keep Floridians and those visiting our state safe.”
Locally, Collier County saw an overall drop of 6.1 percent in tracked crimes, mainly driven by a large drop in larceny cases. Aggravated assault rose slightly with a dozen more cases, as did rape cases, from 40 to 50.
In Lee County, the overall crime rate dropped 4.2 percent, but the numbers are hampered by a 34 percent increase in vehicular thefts, up from 431 to 579. Rape and robbery also rose, but the area did see decreases in other crime types.
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