Florida’s crime rate drops to lowest level in 47 years

by | May 22, 2018

Florida’s crime rate continues to drop, falling 6 percent last year from 2016. That marks a 47-year low for the state’s crime rate.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released its 2017 Uniform Crime Report Tuesday morning.

Gov. Rick Scott says the decline in the state’s crime numbers reflects the investment Florida has made in public safety. During the previous seven years of the Scott administration, the state’s crime rate has dropped 27 percent.

“We continue to make investments each year to keep our communities safe, and these investments are working,” Scott said. “Our state’s continuously decreasing crime rate is a reminder of the dedication and hard work of Florida’s law enforcement officers. We must continue to support and thank them every day for their commitment to keeping Florida families safe.”

The biggest reduction came in the number of burglaries, which were down 11.3 percent. That was followed by a drop in robberies of 7.7 percent. Property crime was down 4.7 percent and the number of murders decreased by 4.6 percent.

Two areas that saw increases in the crime rate were in forcible sex offenses, which jumped 4.6 percent, and domestic violence cases, which increased by 1.3 percent.

“Our crime rate continues to decline because of our brave law enforcement officers and dedicated prosecutors,” said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. “Sadly, Florida has lost five law enforcement heroes this year, and while we celebrate the state’s lowest crime rate in 47 years, let’s not forget the high price of our safety and the heroes who pay it.”

The crime numbers come as advocates of Florida’s substance abuse treatment programs urge Scott to use the state’s emergency reserves to fill a $29.6 million shortfall in the Department of Corrections budget. That money, which had previously been targeted for substance abuse treatment programs and re-entry services for state prisoners, has been redirected to pay for health care services for inmates.

“Without treatment, inmates and probationers are at higher risk to commit crimes and use drugs, undoing the progress Florida has made over the last 15 years in reducing recidivism rates and lowering the prison population,” said Mark Fontaine, the executive director of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association,  in a letter he sent to Scott on Monday.

A Scott spokesman responded Monday saying the governor has proposed an additional $169 million for DOC, but the Legislature chose not in include that additional money in its budget.

The state’s crime rates are calculated based on seven index crimes — murders, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larcenies and motor vehicle thefts — per 100,000 people.

In 2017, there were 28,640 fewer crimes in Florida than there were in 2016.



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