New FDLE Report says crime has dropped in Panama City Beach

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 5:10 AM CDT
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Crime in Panama City Beach is down by 24%, according to a recent FDLE Uniform Crime Report. The number was collected over the past 6 months and compared with the numbers from this time last year.

“Violent crime iS at a 25.9% reduction overall for the same period last year,” said Panama City Beach City Manager Tony O’Rourke. “We’ve seen the 23.9% reduction in property crime, that’s outstanding.”

“Police are there every night,” said Panama City Beach Resident Daniel Zwickl. “They’re doing what they should be doing. They’re patrolling. Looking for anything that’s bad.”

Some locals say they’ve seen a drop in crime just about every year, and many agree that this recent drop could be due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have a lot of people who come down here and wreck everything. They don’t normally focus on the locals. With coronavirus, everybody is staying home,” said Zwickl.

“Since after Memorial Day, since everything started opening back up, people are back out. I guess people are behind on stealing stuff, and they’re trying to catch up too,” said Panama City Beach Resident Charles Fowler.

Panama City Beach officials say while COVID-19 may have played a factor here, many other places are not seeing a drop in crime during the outbreak.

“You see other cities saying that they’ve had an increase in crime. That may be because of COVID and other related reasons, but that’s not the case here,” said O’Rourke.

Some also believe since restrictions have eased and more visitors are coming to our area, we’ll start to see more crime. Officials with the Panama City Beach Police Department say since the beginning of June, they have not seen an uptick in crime.

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