Crime I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

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By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 10.21.2011 by Julie Montanaro

Crime in Florida has dropped 2% statewide, FDLE announced today. That's the good news. The bad news? Leon County has seen a spike in crime in the first half of this year.

Crime in Leon County has declined for four straight years but that has come to an abrupt end in the first half of 2011. Overall crime is up 22%

"I'm actually really surprised. I would say Tallahassee overall feels like a safe place to live in coming from down south especially," Nicole Paez said. "Desperate times I guess people result to extreme measures."

The number of murders has doubled. The number of robberies doubled too. Aggravated assaults are up 60%. Burglaries are up 75%.

Incidents of domestic violence are up 58% in Leon County. The number of domestic murders has tripled. That is in contrast to declines in both numbers statewide.

It's not exactly welcome news for those out and about Friday.

"It doesn't have the wild west quality I suppose. I feel pretty comfortable here so it is strange to see those type numbers," said FSU student Hunter Stephens.

"Is it really that much? Or is it because it was so little before and that little has come up? It's just the percentage looks different," said FAMU student Leroy Fellis. "But for me it makes me want to be a little more safer, kind of watch my back a little bit and look at things because that's scary."

"When you look at Tallahassee and you look at Leon County, I think we're still, compared to other metropolitan areas, it's a safe city to live in," said Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones.

Jones says he wants to take a closer look at the jump in property crimes and talk with other agencies about strategies to curb them.

Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell says the percentages can be deceiving. For example, murders are up 100% from 2 to 4. Robberies are up 100% from 13 to 26.

Campbell also says burglaries of homes, cars and anything with copper wire, are clearly signs of desperate economic times.

"Another part of it is the economy," Sheriff Larry Campbell said. "The thefts are people needing food to eat. The thefts are people who are unemployed."

The City of Tallahassee noted a nearly 15% increase in crime during the same time period.

If you want to see how your hometown fared in the first half of 2011 click on the link below.

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FDLE Press Release:

Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Commissioner Gerald Bailey joined local, state and federal criminal justice officials today to announce the 2011 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report. The report reflects that crime in Florida declined 2 percent for the first half of the calendar year over the same period last year. Total violent crime (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) is down by 3.2 percent for the first six months of the year, while total non-violent crime (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) declined 1.8 percent.

“The decrease in crime volume is yet another sign that Florida is a safe state, and we are open for business,” said Governor Rick Scott. “I commend Florida’s law enforcement agencies as well as our citizens for their commitment and dedication to keeping Floridians and visitors to our state safe.”

"Thanks to the efforts of law enforcement and Florida's citizens, our state continues to be a safe place to work and live," said Attorney General Bondi. "I am proud to recognize their dedication to protecting our citizens and visitors."

The report also showed a 3.1 percent decrease in the number of murders, a 4.3 percent decrease in robberies, a 3.4 percent decrease in aggravated assault, a 1.6 percent decrease in burglary, a 1.2 percent decrease in larceny, and a 9.4 percent decrease in motor vehicle thefts. The number of forcible sex offenses increased 1.1 percent. Domestic violence offenses declined 0.6 percent.

“These first six months’ results are a strong indicator of what we will see for 2011, and the downward trend of Florida’s crime numbers is a positive sign,” said Commissioner Bailey. “We’re aggressively working to safeguard our streets and communities.”

The report also contains information on officers killed feloniously. Five officers died from criminal causes during the first half of the year; two were officers with the Miami-Dade Police Department and three were officers with the St. Petersburg Police Department.

The report includes data submitted by 409 of the state’s 416 law enforcement agencies, which represent 99.2 percent of the total population of the state. The report reflects crime volume only; crime rate, which takes into account population, is calculated in the annual report. The complete 2011 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/.
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Tallahassee, Florida - October 21, 2011 -11am

FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey announced today that Florida's crime rate dropped 2% in the first half of this year. Violent crime is down 3.2% and non-violent crime dipped 1.8%

County by county stats are available on FDLE's web site at www.fdle.state.fl.us/fsac/ucr/

Stay with WCTV for much more on this story.


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