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Lee County crime rate drops more than 10 percent

By Staff | Jan 22, 2011

Overall crime in Lee County dropped by more than 10 percent last year compared to 2009, according to a report released Wednesday.
The 2010 Annual Crime Report from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office found that the number of offenses totaled 10,705, a 10.4 percent decrease from the year before. There were 11,947 crimes recorded in the county in 2009.
“We’re very pleased,” Sheriff Mike Scott said. “We’re very encouraged.”
Violent offenses fell 3.65 percent last year to a total of 1,347.
There were 17 murders recorded in Lee County, three less than 2009. Forced sex crimes dropped by 15 to 185, and robberies fell from 407 to 387. Aggravated assaults totaled 758 — 13 less than the year before.
Non-violent offenses dropped by 11.29 percent to a total of 9,358.
The total number of thefts was 5,540, down from 5,931 in 2009. Motor vehicle thefts decreased by 156 to 600, and residential burglaries dropped from 3,487 to 2,828. Non-residential burglaries actually saw an increase.
There were 390 non-residential burglaries, 15 more than 2009.
Scott attributed the overall crime drop to the hard work of the employees at the sheriff’s office and the community’s involvement, including Neighborhood Watch. Aggressive drug and other enforcement efforts also played a part.
“I think all of the above is paying off nicely,” he said.
The annual report also included the number of simple assaults, domestic violence and arson offenses, but the totals were not incorporated into the overall crime numbers. Arsons fell from 69 in 2009 to 59 in Lee County.
Domestic violence offenses and simple assaults both increased last year. The number of domestic violence crimes rose to 1,667 from 1,593 in 2009. Simple assaults totaled 2,193 compared to 2,084 recorded the prior year.
The annual report also tracks the number of arrests made by offense.
Last year there were 16,587 arrests made in Lee County, a 5.42 percent decrease over the year before. In 2009, there were 17,537 arrests made.
In violent offenses, there were 17 homicide arrests and 207 arrests for robbery. Both were increases over the 2009 numbers which were 13 and 206 respectively. Arrests for forced sex offenses totaled 40, 33 fewer than the year prior. The number of aggravated assault arrests also dipped, from 354 to 325.
There was a decrease in arrests regarding non-violent crimes, too. The number of burglary arrests totaled 366 last year, down from 482 in 2009. There were 1,494 theft arrests compared to 1,680 made the year prior.
Motor vehicle theft arrests remained the same with 97 reported each year.
Arson arrests dropped from six made in 2009 to three made last year.
Approximately 19 percent of the non-violent crimes and about 47 percent of the violent crimes recorded in Lee County in 2010 were cleared, or closed, by the sheriff’s office. Those are the same or better than the national rates.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, 47.1 percent of violent crimes and 18.6 percent of property crimes were cleared nationwide in 2009 by arrest or exceptional means. Property crimes consist of burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft.
A report recently released by the Cape Coral Police Department found that crime within the city decreased last year in all areas, except sex offenses.
In 2010, aggravated assaults dropped to 188, robberies tumbled to 64 and burglaries decreased to 1,267. Motor vehicle thefts fell to 109 and larcenies dipped to 2,596. There were three homicides, the same recorded for 2009.
The Cape Coral police also shared an impressive clearance rate last year. Approximately 22 percent of burglaries, about 24 percent of larcenies and approximately 30 percent of motor vehicle thefts were closed.
For violent offenses, the Cape cleared 53 percent or more depending on the type.