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Crime rates decline in Cape

By Staff | Mar 1, 2016

The city of Cape Coral saw a decrease in the overall reported crime from 2014 to last year.

On Tuesday, the Cape Coral Police Department released its Uniform Crime Reporting statistics for last year. Violent crime dropped by 16 percent year-over-year, while property crime dipped by 4 percent.

Officials reported that the Cape’s Index Crime Rate decreased from 2147.2 in 2014 to 2005.3 last year, a reduction of 6.6 percent. The rate is calculated based on the number of Part I crimes – murder, sex offenses, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle thefts – per 1,0000 citizens.

“While there are always societal factors that are beyond our control, we are thrilled to see that both violent and non-violent crime declined in 2015,” Police Chief Bart Connelly said in a statement.

“I am proud of our officers, detectives, forensics, telecommunications, civilian support personnel and police volunteers for their efforts in driving crime down, making Cape Coral a safe place to live, work and play,” he continued. “This shows what can be achieved when we partner with our citizens and build strong relationships throughout the community.”

According to the UCR, there were zero homicides in the Cape last year, compared to four recorded homicides in 2014. Aggravated assaults dipped from 186 incidents in 2014 to 142 incidents last year.

Under property crimes, burglaries dropped from 679 incidents two year ago to 581 incidents in 2015. There were 140 motor vehicle thefts recorded last year, compared to 152 of the incidents in 2014.

Thefts in general decreased from 2,440 incidents two years age to 2,415 incidents in 2015.

“There’s not any one factor that we can point to,” Sgt. Dana Coston, spokesman for the Cape police, said of the drop in the crime rate year-over-year. “It’s probably a culmination of several things.”

He cited the filling of vacancies, which resulted in more manpower on the streets as one.

“That is enabling us to be more proactive in terms of protection and disruption of crime,” Coston said.

However, not all of the reported crimes in the Cape saw a drop from year to year. Sex offenses rose from 11 two years ago to 15 last year, while robberies increased from 41 in 2014 to 46 last year.

“In the areas that did have the increases,” he said, “your raw number is still quite low.”

He pointed out the robberies as one example.

“There’s really only a difference of five robberies,” Coston said.

While some types of crime cannot be avoided, officials noted that some types – such as the theft of items from an unlocked vehicle – can be avoided by residents taking simple proactive measures.

“It’s one of the most common offenses that we have in Cape Coral,” he said.

Coston reported that a large percentage of thieves will move on if a vehicle is locked.

“They don’t want to do anything that’s going to draw attention or create noise,” he said.

“They are going to go to that unlocked car,” Coston added.

The CCPD recommends that citizens lock their vehicles and remove any tempting valuables.

Over the past year, the department also increased its case clearance rate by 5.6 percent.

“Case clearance is cases that we’ve been able to close,” he said. “That’s more criminal offenders being charged, that’s more property being recovered, that’s more crimes being solved.”