The latest numbers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show the state’s crime rate fell again last year marking the 48th consecutive year that the state’s crime rate has fallen. But, the state’s murder rate jumped nearly 5 percent due in part to the February 2018 school shootings in Parkland.
Overall, the state’s crime rate dropped 9 percent in 2018. That includes a 7.4 percent decrease in index crimes, which covers violent crimes and crimes against property.
There were 45,154 fewer reported index offenses compared to 2017.
“The fall of overall crime rates in 2018 is great news for all Floridians, but there’s still more work to be done,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Overall, the number of violent crime offenses dropped 4.2 percent while property crimes fell 7.9 percent.
“We must do everything we can to protect our citizens and visitors from senseless acts of targeted violence,” DeSantis added. “My administration will continue to stand with our law enforcement personnel and move forward on key policies to protect our residents and keep our communities safe.”
The index crimes of robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft were all down last year. However, the number of murders and rapes saw increases. There were 1,057 people killed in 2018, or 50 more than in 2017, an increase of 4.7 percent. That includes the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting incident.
There were more than 500 rapes committed in Florida last year which represents a 6.3 percent increase over 2017.
The biggest drop in index crimes came in the area of burglaries. There were 71,801 reported across the state, a decrease of nearly 17,000 from the year before. That represents a decline of 19.1 percent.
“The continued drop in overall crime rate reflects the outstanding work done by Florida’s law enforcement officers in protecting Florida’s citizens and visitors. I appreciate the sacrifices they make and the risk they take every day to protect us,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen.
Florida’s top law enforcement official agrees the credit goes to those officers who wear a badge and put their lives on the line every day.
“Florida is a stronger, safer state because of the men and women of law enforcement who face danger every day to protect their communities,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “I am deeply grateful for all they do to keep the state’s crime rate trending downward, but we must not forget that this 48-year drop in crime comes at a tremendous cost. Last year, Florida lost 11 law enforcement officers in the line of duty. We will never forget their sacrifices, nor the security we feel as a result of their courageous service. God bless the men and women who value our safety above their own.”