Florida Gov. Rick Scott
Crime in Florida is decreasing, a trend mirrored in Lee and Collier counties.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released its annual crime report Thursday, showing crimes were down 5.7 percent in 2012 compared with the year before.
“It is because of the hard work of Florida’s law enforcement community that we can celebrate today’s great news about Florida’s crime rate,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a news release Thursday. “Having a low crime rate is important to my goal of creating jobs and opportunities for Florida families, and making our state the best state in the nation to live, work or raise a family.”
Crime is down even more in Southwest Florida — dropping 12.5 percent in Lee County last year compared with the year before, and 10.5 percent in Collier County.
In Lee County, murder and forcible sex offenses were up over 2011, but robbery, burglary and larceny were down. In Collier, crime was down across the board, except for motor vehicle theft.
The largest reason for the drop in statewide crime was a significant drop in robberies, burglaries and thefts.
But murders and sex offenses were up slightly from 2011. There were 1,009 murders last year, 24 more than the year before.
Thursday’s numbers are lowest since FDLE started keeping track 42 years ago, according to a news release sent out by Scott and FDLE.
FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said he attributes the continued drop to improvements in technology and information sharing that has seen a rise in the number of DNA and fingerprint matches.
Arrests are up by 0.8 percent across the state, with almost 2,500 arrests every day or an arrest every 35 seconds, according to the release.
“With this steady decline in our crime rate for the 42nd consecutive year,” Attorney General Pam Bondi said in the release. “I am hopeful that we will see across-the-board declines, specifically in the number of reported domestic violence homicides and sex-related crimes.”
Staff writer Marisa Kendall contributed to this report.