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Overall crime rate declines in Cape

By Staff | Aug 1, 2017

The city of Cape Coral saw a slight decrease in its overall crime from 2015 to last year.

Last week, the Cape Coral Police Department released its Annual Uniform Crime Report for 2016. The figures are used by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to calculate the Index Crime Rate.

According to the FDLE reports, overall crime – total violent and non-violent offenses combined – decreased 1.0 percent. There were 3,305 offenses last year as compared to 3,339 offenses in 2015.

“I’m proud of our officers, detectives, forensics, telecommunications, civilian support personnel and police volunteers for their hard work to keep crime low and to make Cape Coral a safe place to live,” Police Chief Dave Newlan said in a prepared statement.

“Our partnership with our citizens is a enormous help toward this goal, and we will continue to work with the community to improve in 2017,” he added.

Violent offenses jumped 10.3 percent, from 203 incidents in 2015 to 224 incidents last year. Violent crimes include incidents of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, according to officials.

In 2016, there were five murders, 16 rapes and 172 aggravated assaults as compared to zero murders, 12 rapes and 145 aggravated assaults reported the previous year. Robberies dropped from 46 to 31.

Newlan noted that despite an increase in the total number of violent offenses last year, the Cape remains down about 6 percent in violent crime over the last two years.

“And (it) remains the No. 1 safest city in the state of Florida for violent crime relative to its population and the No. 2 safest city overall,” he continued.

Non-violent offenses decreased 1.8 percent, from 3,136 incidents in 2015 to 3,081 incidents last year. Non-violent crimes include incidents of burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft, officials reported.

Last year, there were 632 burglaries and 163 motor vehicle thefts as compared to 581 burglaries and 140 motor vehicle thefts reported in 2015. Larcenies declined from 2,415 to 2,286 year-over-year.

“While there are always societal factors that are beyond our control, we are pleased to see a decrease in non-violent crime for 2016,” Newlan said.

The Index Crime Rate dipped from 2005.3 in 2015 to 1938.7 last year, a 3.3 percent change.

The rate is calculated based off the number of Part I crimes – murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft – per 1,0000 citizens, according to officials.

Among Florida’s cities with a population over 100,000, the Cape came in as the second safest in the state in 2016 based on the crime rate. Port St. Lucie came in as first with a crime rate of 1509.9.

During Monday night’s City Council meeting, City Manager John Szerlag asked Newlan how Port St. Lucie reported its retail theft incidents. Newlan explained that the thefts are reported through the local county sheriff – unlike in the Cape – thus lowering Port St. Lucie’s figures as compared to the city.

“I consider Cape Coral the No. 1 safest city in Florida overall among cities of at least 100,000 residents, as well as first in (fewest) violent crimes,” Szerlag said in response.

To view the FDLE’s reports, visit: www.fdle.state.fl.us/cms/FSAC/UCR-Reports.aspx.