Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey released the state's 2011 annual Uniform Crime Report on Monday, April 30, showing Florida’s crime rate at a 41-year low, declining by 0.8 percent.
Violent crime decreased by 3.7 percent for the year, while non-violent crime increased slightly by 0.4 percent.
The 2011 annual UCR includes data submitted by 411 of Florida’s 414 municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies for crimes reported from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. These submitting agencies represent 99.3 percent of the state’s total population.
Crime rate statistics focus on FDLE’s seven index offense categories, which include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.
Locally, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office overall UCR statistics for 2011 were included as well, showing a 10.6 percent decrease in reported index crimes within its own jurisdiction, that is, the unincorporated areas of Citrus County, plus the city limits of Inverness.
At the request of the Crystal River city council, index crimes reported within the city
limits are submitted separately and indicated a 20.8 percent increase, up from 260 in 2010, to 314 in 2011.
Larcenies in Crystal River saw the largest increase, rising from 191 in 2010, to 239 in 2011. Aggravated assaults and robberies also rose marginally, up by 6 and 4 respectively. Burglaries, on the other hand, dropped from 32 in 2010, to 26 in 2011.
The total number of index crimes reported to FDLE by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office in its own jurisdiction decreased by 389, down from 3,655 in 2010, to 3,266 in 2011. Specifically, these crimes fell under the property index offense categories of burglaries, which decreased from 884 to 806, and larcenies, which dropped from 2,191 to 1,934.
For Citrus County as a whole, that is, including both Crystal River and Inverness, the overall number of reported index crimes dropped by a total of 8.6 percent.
Keep in mind that since April 2004, the Sheriff’s Office has handled all law enforcement responsibilities within the city limits of Inverness. The agency didn’t assume policing in Crystal River until February 2008.
In 2007, the last full year CRPD was in command, the total number of index crimes reported was 369, or 55 more crimes than were reported in 2011. Included in those crimes were 246 larcenies, 12 robberies, 16 vehicle thefts and 62 burglaries. Comparatively, in 2011, there were 239 larcenies, 9 robberies, 5 vehicle thefts and only 26 burglaries reported.
Citrus County’s boundaries currently boast a population of 140,956, notably down from the figure of 142,202 cited in 2010.
The percentage of reported crimes cleared by arrest (or else exceptionally cleared) by the Sheriff’s Office in its own jurisdiction increased marginally from 30.8 percent in 2010, to 31.3 percent in 2011. In Crystal River, however, the clearance rate rose dramatically from 40.0 percent in 2010, to 48.7 percent in 2011. All of these numbers rank far above Florida’s statewide clearance rate of 24.2 percent.
In addition, the Sheriff’s Office reported 4,988 arrests in 2011, that is, fewer than the 5,695 reported in 2010. Within the city limits of Crystal River, however, there were 621 arrests in 2011, up from the 587 reported in 2010.
Year after year, Sheriff Jeff Dawsy calls upon the public to assist him in managing crime in Citrus County. He also continues to encourage citizens and business owners alike to secure their vehicles, homes and commercial premises by locking the doors and windows every time and keeping valuables out of sight.
Given the continuing impact of today’s sluggish economy, Dawsy quickly notes that property crimes remain the most prevalent offense in the county. While he routinely adjusts the tactical deployment of his patrol deputies to address identified crime trends, the sheriff maintains the agency’s free-of-charge residential and commercial security survey services and crime prevention campaigns (such as Lock Out Crime).
And beyond that, fully realizing that crime is changing in Citrus County, Dawsy takes a proactive stance with his intelligence-led policing (ILP) protocol, which all of his officers are trained in. Using ILP, the agency’s operational strategy seeks to reduce crime through the combined use of crime analysis and criminal intelligence in order to determine crime reduction tactics that concentrate on the enforcement and prevention of criminal offender activity, with a specific focus on active and repeat offenders.
Citrus County is the second safest county in Florida when compared with counties of a similar population (specifically, Martin, Santa Rosa, Indian River and Citrus counties), and the county with the second lowest crime rate per 100,000 citizens among these same four.