Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Jerry Bailey Tuesday released the state’s 2005 Annual Uniform Crime Report and announced Florida’s index crime rate has reached a 35-year low. The index crime rate dropped by 3.7 percent in 2005 compared to 2004.
“I applaud the hard work of Florida’s law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line each day to protect the residents of our state, and this report highlights the results of their efforts,” said Gov. Bush. “This report shows that staying tough on crime works.”
The rate of reported index crime, which is based on murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft decreased for the 14th straight year. The report also revealed crime volume, the actual number of reported crimes, decreased by 1.5 percent, the state’s lowest index volume in two decades.
“Low crime rates reflect a determination to protect our families and our communities,” said Attorney General Charlie Crist.
“Through the dedication of law enforcement officers and prosecutors and tough laws against crime, we will continue working to make Florida a safe home for its citizens and a safe destination for visitors."
The rate of violent crime decreased by 0.6 percent, while non-violent showed a 4.2 percent decrease for the same period. The number of violent crimes (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) rose 1.7 percent in 2005, while the number of non-violent crimes (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) decreased by 2.0 percent.
“While I am pleased to report that Florida’s crime rate has reached a 35-year low, we must stay tough on crime, particularly violent crimes,” Commissioner Bailey said. “I thank the Governor and Legislature for ensuring that officers in the state of Florida have the support necessary to keep our citizens and visitors safe.”
In 1999, Gov. Bush signed the “10-20-LIFE” crime bill into law, requiring a minimum 10-year sentence for crimes committed with a gun, a 20-year sentence for firing a gun during the commission of a crime and 25 years to life if the bullet fired causes death or injury.
Since 1998, the volume of crimes committed with guns has decreased by 12.5 percent, while the rate of crimes committed with firearms has gone down 26.7 percent in that same period.
The number of reported domestic violence offenses increased by 0.5 percent while arrest for these offenses decreased 0.5 percent from last year. Spouse and cohabitants continue to account for more than half the domestic violence crimes.
Domestic violence accounted for 26 percent of comparably reported violent crimes. One-fifth of the state’s murders were domestic violence related incidents.
This year’s report includes data submitted by 411 local, county and state law enforcement agencies. These agencies serve approximately 99.9 percent of the state’s population.
The complete 2005 Annual Crime in Florida Uniform Crime Report, including county-by-county breakdowns, can be found on FDLE’s Web site.