By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
December 3, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- The home county of the State Capitol has the highest crime rate in the state for five years running.
Now, high-profile figures are beginning to demand action.
A recent spree of robberies at Florida State University has University President John Thrasher worried.
“I'll tell you what keeps me up at night and it's about the crime in Tallahassee,” said Thrasher.
Thrasher isn’t the only one having trouble sleeping.
“I hear the sirens at night,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
So far this year, 61 shootings have taken the lives of 19 in the Capital County.
Deputy Dave Teems with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office said addressing the crime rate is a top priority.
“We are working as a community, all of your law enforcement partners, all of your community partners are working together to try and tackle this issue,” said Teems.
Federal and state cooperation with local law enforcement has increased in recent years.
The governor said the state is willing to ramp up efforts.
“If they want help from the state on something we're willing to look at it. I mean, we've got some folks with FDLE who do this stuff a lot,” said DeSantis.
The crime rate did drop 7% between 2017 and 2018.
Law enforcement expects to continue making progress.
This summer, a slew of new initiatives were launched in Leon County.
They’re aimed at prosecuting top offenders, helping low level criminals reintegrate in the community and preventing crime on the front end.
The goal is a 25% reduction in crime by 2021, but some like Thrasher are hoping to see faster results.
“Because I'm telling you, if young people around the state start to fear about coming to Tallahassee it's going to make a difference in both Florida A&M, certainly FSU and our community college,” said Thrasher.
There is no word yet on whether local officials will take the governor up on his offer to provide additional state help.