Florida crime rates continued a downward trend, hitting a 47-year low in 2017 according to a new report out from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Total crime numbers saw a 4.5 percent drop between 2016 and 2017 with 28,640 fewer crimes being committed last year. Governor Rick Scott highlighted the $5.2 billion in funding for public safety included in the latest budget while announcing the numbers in a release on Tuesday.
“We continue to make investments each year to keep our communities safe, and these investments are working,” Scott said in a prepared statement. “Today, I’m proud to announce that crime is at a 47-year low in our state. Our state’s continuously decreasing crime rate is a reminder of the dedication and hard work of Florida’s law enforcement officers.”
Murder rates fell 4.6 percent with 57 fewer cases in 2017, while robbery and aggravated assault fell 7.7 percent and 2.8 percent respectively.
“Our crime rate continues to decline because of our brave law enforcement officers and dedicated prosecutors,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “Sadly, Florida has lost five law enforcement heroes this year, and while we celebrate the state’s lowest crime rate in 47 years, let’s not forget the high price of our safety and the heroes who pay it.”
Rape was one of the few categories of violent crime that saw an increase instead of a reduction, with 351 more offenses in 2017 than in 2016, a 4.6 percent change.
“The good news is that we’ve seen the overall crime rate continue to decrease, but there’s been an uptick in domestic violence and forcible sex offenses,” said Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin Lystad, who serves as President of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “These are issues every community faces and we encourage citizens to continue to report these crimes so law enforcement officers can get offenders off the street.”
Non-violent crime also saw a steep drop off with 11.3 percent fewer burglaries in 2017.
Southwest Florida largely followed the trend with a 1.3 percent drop in total crime in Collier County. There were three less murders, 12 more rapes, 14 fewer robberies, and 39 more aggravated assaults in 2017 than 2016 in Collier. Lee saw a larger drop in total crime with a 4.6 percent. There were four more murders, the same number of rapes, 96 more robberies, and 365 fewer aggravated assaults in Lee County in 2017 as compared to 2016.
© 2018 Naples Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.