Floridians safer today than any time in the last four decades
Governor Rick Scott and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey joined local and state criminal justice officials today to release the 2012 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report. The report shows Florida’s crime volume dropped 3.8 percent compared to the first six months of 2011.
Governor Rick Scott said, “As a father and grandfather, the safety of Florida families is a top priority for our administration. The great news is we are winning the fight against crime. I am committed to making Florida the safest place in the world to pursue a career and raise a family. That’s why I am proud that Florida’s crime rate dropped 3.8 percent for the first half of 2012. That means Florida communities are getting safer. No doubt, it’s because of the courage of our brave men and women of law enforcement that families can feel safe in our communities. These heroes put themselves in harm’s way every single day, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for making our communities safe.”
“I thank Florida’s law enforcement officers for their hard work to keep our citizens and visitors safe,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey.
According to the report, the number of violent crimes (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) was down by 5.3 percent. The report showed an 8.0 percent drop in robberies and a 5.4 percent decrease in aggravated assault. Non-violent crime (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) fell 3.6 percent. Burglary and larceny are down 5.8 percent and 3.0 percent respectively. The number of motor vehicle thefts decreased by 1.3 percent.
Domestic violence offenses continued to decline in the first half of 2012, showing a 5.4 percent drop. Cohabitants continue to be the largest group of victims in this category, with spouses remaining the second largest group.
The report also contains information on officers killed feloniously. At the press conference, Governor Scott honored two law enforcement officers and one correctional officer who died from criminal causes while on duty during the first half of 2012.
Governor Scott said, “Heroes like Detective White, Deputy Pill and Sergeant Thomas made the ultimate sacrifice for our safety, and we should always keep them and their families in our prayers. We know that the service and sacrifice of our officers is what keeps us safe at night.”
“Today’s numbers tell a story of dedication by Florida’s Sheriffs and deputies,” said FSA President and Highland’s County Sheriff Susan Benton. “The loyalty and sacrifice to service is what law enforcement live for every day – they are committed to dedicating their lives to ensure the safety and protection of our citizens. This decline in crime is more than a drop in numbers; it shows the promise of our law enforcement.”
“Police officers in the over 300 Florida municipalities in our state are committed to improving public safety and taking every action necessary to reduce crime,” said Florida Police Chiefs Association President and Tallahassee Police Department Police Chief Dennis M. Jones. “The decrease Florida has experienced is a direct result of not only successful law enforcement but also active community engagement in our crime fighting efforts.”
“The men and women of the Tampa Police Department strive daily to ensure our citizens have a low crime rate and feeling of safety and security in the city they call home. We are always adjusting our approach to fighting crime and partnering with our citizens and business community to stay one step ahead of the criminals,” said Chief Jane Castor of the Tampa Police Department.
At the press conference, Governor Scott highlighted businesses in the Tampa region that have benefitted from the safe environment.
Governor Scott said, “I’ve continued to focus on growing jobs for Florida families, and there’s no denying that the improved safety of our communities is also important to Florida businesses.”
David Burton of Pizza Fusion said, “The safety of downtown Tampa is a big reason we can serve late night customers. I live in the same building our store is in, and the safety and opportunities that downtown Tampa provided my business has resulted in us exceeding expectations. We’re only going to continue to grow, and the safety of the area plays a big part in that.”
Owner of Moxie’s Café Jim Venetos said, “We chose to open Moxie’s in downtown Tampa because it provided us with a safe environment for our customers and employees. A few years ago, we were among only a handful of businesses, and today there are businesses and residents all throughout the area. There’s a lot of competition now, which is great for the consumer. From our success, we’re looking to expand our catering business in the area – and the safety of the region has undoubtedly worked to our benefit.”
Richard Gonzmart, 4th Generation Family Member and President of the Columbia Restaurant Group said, “The overall drop in crime has had a positive effect on the economy. As a businessman, I have seen sales at my family’s Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City increase. Our employees are benefiting from this increase in sales and they report that our customers feel that Ybor City is a safe place to visit. The Columbia Restaurant has thrived for more than 100 years in our Ybor location. I feel Tampa is safer now than at any other time in my 40 years of running our family restaurant.”
The complete 2012 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/. FDLE began tracking crime statistics in 1971.