Is violent crime on the rise in Manatee County?

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Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013 5:57 pm

MANATEE COUNTY-An early morning shootout Sunday left three cars in the parking lot of the India Bazaar convenience store riddled with bullets. Authorities say the shots came from a high powered rifle, the shooters fleeing into the night.

"Crime activities look like they're more increase," said Murkesh Trivedi, who has has owned the convenience store for the past eight year. He says recently, crime in the area has gotten worse.

"Late night shootings, late night fights," said Truvedi.

You may recognize Trivedi from a story in July involving another violent crime. It was in his convenience store that suspect Dominick Hawkins bought candy for a five year old girl just moments before he allegedly kidnapped and raped her.

Neighbors nearby say this part of Manatee County is struggling with crime.

"When I first moved in, I didn't know too much about this area but now I've been here long enough," said resident John Bellville, "too much crime, robberies, little kids getting raped by people."

And just last week, a man was gunned down at a youth football game in Bradenton, leaving parents and residents on edge.

"As far as I feel, Bradenton itself has gotten a little bit out of control so it really doesn't matter where you are, shootings are taking place all over this town," said parent Brandie Rodriguez.

Official numbers paint a picture that's not entirely clear of what's happening.

According to crime statistics from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, violent crime decreased by four percent in 2012. But homicides were up by fifty percent, and sex offenses went up twenty-four percent. Robberies however fell by twenty-two percent.

And while numbers may be helpful in looking at the bigger picture, Trivedi says what would really be helpful, are more police patrols.

"They do patrol, but they need to increase more patrolling and night time especially," said Trivedi.

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