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Decrease in crimes for Sanibel, Lee

By Staff | Sep 3, 2019

Police Chief William Dalton

The Sanibel Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office recently released their Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report, which compares the first half of this year to the first six months of 2018.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains the annual and semi-annual numbers for municipalities throughout the state. The SPD released its halfway report last week, while the LCSO released its at the end of July. Both agencies saw an overall drop in recorded crimes year-to-year.

“Our officer staffing is up, and our officers are out in the community a great deal of time creating a presence,” Police Chief William Bill Dalton said on Aug. 30 of this year’s reduced numbers.

“Our presence coupled with a booming economy are two factors that usually reduce crime,” he added.

In the category of violent offenses, zero murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults were reported on the island for the first half of 2019. There were two rapes recorded during the same time period last year. As for murders, robberies and aggravated assaults, there also were zero in 2018.

The SPD saw a 100 percent decrease in the category of violent offenses.

“In the last 10 years, we ranged from zero to two of these (rape) offenses annually, so this is statistically consistent,” Dalton said.

For the category of property offenses, zero motor vehicle thefts were recorded both years. Comparing the year-over-year numbers, there were two burglaries and 19 larcenies for the first half of 2019, versus seven burglaries and 27 larcenies for 2018. The SPD saw a 38.2 percent drop for its property offenses.

“Again, high presence in community and booming economy,” he said of the change.

Under the other offenses category, Sanibel again recorded zero arsons and human traffickings in comparing the two years. There was one fondling reported in 2018, versus zero for the first half of this year, as well as 10 simple assaults at the halfway point last year compared to nine so far in 2019.

The SPD saw a 100 percent and 10 percent reduction, respectively, in fondling and simple assaults.

“It’s still pretty consistent with the past in both categories,” Dalton said.

Sanibel police also recorded a 33.3 percent decrease in simple assault incidents under domestic violence offenses from year to year, with six reported in the first half of 2018 versus four for 2019.

In terms of arrests, the numbers also dropped from 57 for 2018 to 33 this year.

“The number of crimes being committed are down, therefore arrests are down,” he said.

Dalton offered the community some advice to help keep the island safe.

“If you see something, say something,” he said. “Sanibel residents are very astute. If something does not look right in their neighborhood, call the Sanibel police when it is happening.”

“Give us an opportunity to come out and solve the problem,” Dalton added.

Covering unincorporated Lee County, which includes Captiva, the LCSO recorded a total of 3,740 offenses during the first half of 2018 compared to 3,038 this year – an 18.77 percent decrease.

“Law enforcement has traditionally reacted to crimes,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said.

“The safety and security of our residents is my number one priority,” he added. “By constantly upgrading our technology, adjusting our practices, and improving our already positive relationships with residents, working together, we are able to keep our residents safer than ever before.”

In the category of violent offenses, reported murders dropped from 16 to five, robberies dipped from 146 to 132 and forced sex crimes saw a reduction from 167 to 163. However, aggravated assaults/stalking offenses rose from 417 in the first half of last year to 420 for the same time in 2019.

The LSCO saw a 3.49 percent decrease in total violent offenses.

In the category of non-violent offenses, residential burglaries dropped from 439 to 286, motor vehicle thefts declined from 342 to 224, thefts under $50 were reduced from 502 to 374, non-residential burglaries dipped from 85 to 67, thefts $50-200 went from 458 to 365, and thefts over $200 decreased from 1,168 to 1,002. Overall, the LCSO recorded a 22.58 percent cut in total non-violent offenses.

In addition, the county agency reported a decline in the year-over-year numbers among domestic violence offenses and simple assaults/stalkings – 803 to 713 and 1,105 to 849, respectively.

In terms of arrests, the LCSO also saw a drop from 8,148 for 2018 to 6,979 this year.