Tallahassee, Florida –
Governor Charlie Crist and Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Commissioner Gerald Bailey today announced that crime in Florida is down 4.8 percent for the first half of 2010 over the same period last year. The figure is part of the 2010 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report, which was released today, providing a preliminary indication of this year’s crime figures. Total violent crime (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) is down by 10.7 percent for the first six months of the year while total non-violent crime (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) declined 3.8 percent.
To help address a 5.8 percent increase in domestic violence murder, and in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Florida, Governor Crist also announced a pilot project in Manatee and Sarasota counties aimed at helping survivors of domestic violence connect with employment opportunities and maintain self-sufficiency.
“By assisting survivors of domestic violence who need help finding work, we can help prevent individuals from feeling financially trapped in an abusive relationship,” said Governor Crist. “I commend Florida’s law enforcement agencies for their commitment and dedication to keeping Floridians and visitors to our state safe. We must never forget that each crime represents at least one victim, and we must continue to be ever vigilant to do all we can to keep our communities and neighborhoods secure.”
Commissioner Bailey was joined at the Capitol by Leisa Wiseman of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Director Cynthia R. Lorenzo of the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation. Workforce Florida Inc. is providing the $500,000 grant and working in partnership with AWI and Suncoast Workforce, which serves job seekers in Sarasota and Manatee counties, to develop and implement the pilot project.
“The first six months of the year typically provide a good picture of where we are going the rest of the year, and the fact that we had 19,000 fewer crimes is a positive sign,” said Commissioner Bailey. “The men and women in law enforcement are working hard across our state.”
The Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report showed a 6.1 percent decrease in the number of forcible sex offenses, a 17.1 percent decrease in robberies, an 8.9 percent decrease in aggravated assault, a 5.5 percent decrease in burglary, a 1.7 percent decrease in larceny, and a 17.3 percent decrease in motor vehicle thefts. The number of murders increased 3.6 percent. Domestic violence offenses declined 2.4 percent.
About the Domestic Violence Pilot Project
The pilot project will provide funding to Suncoast Workforce to collaborate with local domestic violence victim advocates to develop effective strategies to provide workforce services such as training, targeted case management, support services such as child care, and job placement assistance that will help survivors obtain new and better jobs to ensure self-sufficiency.
“This is an outstanding partnership that will help address key barriers survivors face when leaving an abusive relationship,” said Tiffany Carr, president of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “The message we hear from survivors is that economic self-sufficiency for themselves and their children is vital to moving on with their lives and away from the abuse.”
This new initiative will include an evaluation component that can be used to help other Regional Workforce Boards replicate the model, and will incorporate outreach strategies to provide information on available workforce services and programs to the support agencies that assist families and individuals affected by domestic violence.
“This innovative and meaningful project will provide dedicated resources to Sarasota and Manatee families to address specific employment, job readiness and reemployment needs so survivors can be self-sufficient and their families safe,” said Director Lorenzo. “We are proud to partner with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence to provide another tool to help survivors achieve the bright futures they deserve.”
About the Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report
The report includes data submitted by 405 of the state’s 416 law enforcement agencies for crimes reported from January through June of this year. This represents 97.3 percent of local, county and state law enforcement agencies. The report reflects crime volume only; crime rate, which takes into account population, is calculated in the annual report. The 405 submitting agencies represent 99.1 percent of the total population of the state.
The complete 2010 Semi-Annual Crime in Florida, Uniform Crime Report, including county-by-county breakdowns, can be found on FDLE’s Web site linked below.
WCTV will be bringing you more on the story.