Hefty drop in Cape crime numbers
Law enforcement officials report an overall decrease in crime numbers in Cape Coral, Lee County and the state of Florida for the first half of 2009.
Cape Coral saw an 11.6 percent decrease in crime in the first six months of 2009 as compared to 2008, according to city spokesperson Connie Barron.
The city had 2,414 total “index” crimes from January to June of this year, as opposed to 2,732 index crimes reported during that same time frame in 2008.
Index crimes fall into two categories, violent crimes and property crimes. Violent crimes measured among index crimes include murder, sexual offenses, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes counted among index crimes include burglary, larceny and motor vehicle thefts.
According to a semi-annual report released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Wednesday, Cape Coral is ranked as the fifth safest city in Florida with populations exceeding 100,000 people. Palm Bay, Coral Springs, Miramar and Port St. Lucie are ranked first through fourth, respectively.
“We are pleased that we have been able to work together–the community and police–to keep our crime rate low and our citizens safe,” Cape Coral Police Chief Rob Petrovich said in a written statement released Friday. “While we know that we cannot stop every crime from occurring, we can continue our proactive efforts to target specific areas of concern and respond quickly to all criminal incidents.”
There have been three murders in Cape Coral in 2009, a 40 percent decrease from the first half of 2008, while rape has seen the largest decrease by 61.1 percent.
The only major crime to see an increase this year is robbery, which has gone up by 5.7 percent to a total of 56 in Cape Coral. However, robberies are down 17.53 percent throughout the county.
In Lee County, major crimes are down by 13.57 percent, from 6,966 to 6,021. Murder is down 26.67 percent in Lee County while forced sex crimes are down 32.59 percent.
Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrests are down 19.69 percent, from 11,584 to 9,303.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports violent crimes statewide are down 9.7 percent, while non-violent crimes are down 7.6 percent.
In general, crime in the state of Florida is down 7.9 percent, according to FDLE’s mid-year report.
“The decrease in the volume of crime is a very encouraging sign,” Gov. Charlie Crist wrote in a prepared statement this week. “Public safety is a priority across the state, and the proactive programs and policies we are putting in place will continue to make a difference in keeping our streets and communities safe. I thank law enforcement officers across our state for their service in protecting the people of Florida.”
FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said Wednesday that “The first half of the year is typically a good indicator as to what’s ahead for the rest of the year.”
According to FDLE figures, murder is down 18.8 percent, forcible sex crimes are down 4.1 percent and robberies are down 13 percent statewide.
The report, compiling information submitted by 404 law enforcement agencies throughout the state, reflects crime volume, as opposed to crime rate as it relates to population size, according to FDLE officials. Crime rate is a component of the annual report.
The 2009 semi-annual report and a county-by-county breakdown of crime in Florida is available at the FDLE Web site at www.fdle.state.fl.us/fsac/ucr/.