State report shows crime rate in Florida dropped

Crime Down In Florida
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 9:29 PM CST
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Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows crime in Florida has decreased by 8.3 percent.

The report breaks down crime in by counties for 2021. The crimes include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

Crime in several Panhandle counties decreased. In Calhoun County crime decreased by 2.8 percent. In Okaloosa County crime declined by 10.3 percent. Bay County saw one of the biggest drops, decreasing by 17.4 percent.

“I’m very pleased with what I see,” said Sheriff Tommy Ford, Bay County. “We don’t use this as a mission accomplish banner, we use it as a barometer that what we’re doing is either working on is not, and I’m thinking in this case it shows that how we’re approaching crime as a community, as a system, as a whole is working.”

The sheriff said he is aware that there is always room for improvement, which is why he and his team are dedicated to tackling the opioid crisis head on.

“One of the things that this (report) doesn’t really take into account is the drug situation,” said Ford. “That’s something that we fight very hard. We’re seeing a lot of opioid related deaths. Two days ago, we made the largest fentanyl seizure that we’ve ever seen at 2.5 pounds so we’re aggressive in trying to get drugs off the streets.”

Not all panhandle counties saw a decrease in crime. Holmes and Walton Counties were among those that experienced an increase.

Dustin Cosson is a Chief at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. He said several factors can play a role in an uptick in crime.

“So, when you see an increase, you have to look at a bunch of other numbers with that increase. With that increase in population there’s an increase opportunity for crime to happen, Cosson said. “So, when you have an increase in opportunity for crime to happen, you’re going to have more crime.”

Cosson said his team is actively strategizing on ways to constantly crack down on crime.

“Hopefully what we’ll see over the next two-three years is sort of a plateau so we kind of look at these peaks and valleys and we adjust ourselves, and how we respond to certain situations based off those peaks and valleys.”