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City: Crime drops 31 percent in 2017

By Staff | Mar 2, 2018

The city of Sanibel saw its crime dip by approximately one-third from 2016 to last year.

On Feb. 26, the Sanibel Police Department released its annual Uniform Crime Report for 2017, along with calls for service and crime trends, which were analyzed from reports taken by department staff.

Police Chief William Dalton reported that federal reportable crimes dropped by about 31 percent.

In 2017, a total of 72 crimes were recorded as compared to 105 crimes the year before.

“Within the federally reportable crimes, there were several noteworthy statistics,” Dalton said in a memo to City Manager Judie Zimomra. “There was a 58 percent decrease in the report of burglaries, a 3 percent decreased in reported thefts and a 20 percent decrease in assaults.”

Year-over-year, burglaries dipped from 43 to 18, thefts from 41 to 40 and assaults from 15 to 12. Vehicle thefts declined from 2 in 2016 to zero last year, while rapes increased from zero to 2.

Both years there were no recorded robberies or murders.

In the memo, Dalton explained that the category of non-UCF reported crimes includes incidents like trespassing, drug violations, DUIs, criminal traffic violations, criminal mischiefs and harassment.

In 2017, a total of 523 non-UCF crimes were recorded compared to 624 – a 16 percent drop.

There were 738 civil and criminal tickets last year, down from 1,346. Accidents declined from 243 in 2016 to 177, and arrests – including criminal citations – also deceased from 106 to 78 in 2017.

“Additionally, staff track ordinance violations,” Dalton said. “This statistic gives another barometer for evaluating violation trends and helps guide staff deployment.”

In 2017, ordinance violations dipped to 274 from 354 the year before.

They were primarily beach diminishment, noise violations and manatee zone infractions.

DUI and drug arrests were trending high over the past five years, but have declined. There were 16 DUIs and 30 drugs arrests recorded in 2017 compared to 22 and 31, respectively, the prior year.

“We experienced a 3 percent decrease in drug arrests and our DUIs were down 27 percent,” Dalton said.

The majority of those arrested – 46 percent – were non-island Lee County residents. Florida residents residing outside of the county made up 11 percent, while 28 percent were from out-of-state.

“The residency of those arrested on Sanibel in 2017 remains similar to past years, with 15 percent of those arrested as Sanibel residents,” Dalton said.

In 2017, there was a 9 percent drop in calls for service, from 28,772 to 26,140.

According to the memo, the “calls for service” statistic includes every criminal report, ordinance violation, arrest, call for service and proactive area check completed by the police department.

“The (Sanibel) Police Department continues to encourage crime prevention through education, awareness, press released and promoting security cameras at resorts,” Dalton said.

For more information, visit the city of Sanibel at www.mysanibel.com.