Crime Rate Down, Development to Thank

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In 2004, police found the body of a young woman in a room at the Majestic Motel on Front Beach Road. She'd been murdered by her husband.

In the mid ‘90s an Atlanta woman named Pamela Ray vanished from one of the other Long Beach area motels. She's never been found.

Those motels are now gone, replaced by high-rent, high-rise condos. The numbers tend to agree.

Bay County's murder, burglary, robbery and larceny rates all decreased during the first half of 2005. Was it a lucky break?

Local law enforcement officials say the new development is replacing some of their old trouble spots.

In 2002 a local developer did cost analysis for law enforcement at some of the older motel properties. In the previous year Panama City Beach police investigated 1,237 crimes at the 200-room majestic. That's just over six crimes per room that year.

The developer took the annual police budget and divided it by the total number of crimes, and came up with a cost of 82,000 for the Majestic alone.

The Majestic's owners only paid $19,000 in property taxes. Some say the new condos and business boom have changed the area's clientele, and therefore changed the crime rates, changes that will hopefully have a positively affect on the area.

Police say they expect to see crime rates hold steady during the winter months, only because the beach is becoming more of a winter population.