Crime Rates: Where Are They?

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The FBI reports that the nation's violent crime rate fell by a half a percent in the first six months of this year. Property crimes were dropping quite a bit more, some 2.8 percent.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office and the Tallahassee Police Department say crime rates are starting to level off. They had seen some big decreases during the last few years, but don't expect any more significant drops.

The Tallahassee Police Department says when it comes to crime, they're starting to see some changes.

OFC John Newland with TPD says, "What we're seeing is a change in trend in crimes. We want people to report their crimes, we think people are getting more comfortable coming out saying, yes, I have been a victim of burglary, I was victim of rape."

OFC Newland says the department saw a 30 percent drop in crime between 2000 and 2004, but it's leveling off. The department is now starting to see a slight increase.

Most importantly though, is most of these crimes Newland says never had to happen.

"Forty percent of our burglaries from the first half of the year could've been prevented by people just locking up the doors and windows at their apartments or house or cars."

The Sheriff's Office says its numbers are consistent with the national numbers; it's also seeing slight drops in crime overall, but separated into categories. The crime rate decreases are significant in some areas.

DET Brice Google with the Leon County Sheriff's Office Violent Crimes Unit says, "Surprisingly with our violent crimes, they're down pretty significantly from last year for violent crimes. We're pleased with that."

Both departments report a drop in the number of murders they've investigated; Leon County from four to one and Tallahassee from 12 to 11, but when it comes to property crimes. The year's not over yet. This time of year is a busy one, and that is because this is the time of year the burglary rate starts to go up.

The Tallahassee Police Department says the city is unique because of the large number of college students in town, but it's doing something about it. OFC Newland says patrols have been increased in student populated areas.