SARASOTA (WWSB) - Statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show overall crime in Florida was down eight percent over the first six months of 2018, when compared to last year.
However, the semi-annual crime report released this week also shows the number of murders in the state was up 2.6 percent to 545, due in part to the February 14th school shooting in Parkland that killed 17 people. The Marjorie Stoneman Douglas massacre also was part of an increase in deaths caused by firearms, with 419 people killed between January and June, compared to 406 a year ago.
Looking more specifically at Sarasota and Manatee County -
The highest number of offenses in Sarasota County was larceny with 2,981 incidents in 2018, but that’s down from 3,036 the previous year. Larceny was also the highest numbers of offenses in Manatee County with 2,903 incidents in 2018, up from 2,521 the previous year.
There were 3 murders in Sarasota County in 2018, up from 1 the previous year, and 8 murders in Manatee County, up from 7 the previous year.
The Sarasota and Manatee County Statewide report for crime can be viewed below:
Along with murder, sexual assault offenses were up nearly four percent across the state, while crimes such as robbery, burglary and larceny all decreased. FDLE spokesperson Gretl Plessinger says the overall downward trend in crime is a credit to law enforcement across the state.
FDLE spokesperson, Gretl Plessinger says the overall downward trend in crime is a credit to law enforcement across the state.
“Law enforcement, whether it’s state, local, or federal… we all work together to proactively prevent crimes and investigate them aggressively when they happen," said Plessinger. “Usually the semi-annual report is a good indicator of what’s to come for the full year. So, if the trend continues, we’ll have the lowest crime rate in 48 years in the state.”
Metro areas with the largest overall increase in crime include the Gainesville and Pensacola regions, while large counties in Central and South Florida generally saw a decrease in crime. 2017 saw the lowest crime rate in 47 years in the state of Florida.