Major crimes went down by an impressive 8.5 percent in the Monroe County jurisdiction covered by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in 2010 as compared with the previous year. The total number of crimes counted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement went from 2,392 in 2009 to 2,189 in 2010. The crime rate – crimes per 100,000 people – went down by 6.6 percent.
Law Enforcement agencies around the state of Florida report certain crimes to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement twice a year. FDLE then issues a statewide report on crime in Florida, which allows counties and law enforcement agencies to gauge how they are doing compared with other areas, and compared with the state as a whole.
“It is very useful information to have,” said Sheriff Bob Peryam. “We use it to see how we stack up with other agencies, and to see where we need to concentrate over coming months. I was particularly happy to see our violent crime go down in Monroe County by 17 percent,” he added.
The Sheriff’s Office jurisdictional area saw decreases of 31percent for forcible sex offenses; 38 percent for aggravated assaults; 3 percent for burglary; 6.5 percent for larceny; and 23.5 percent for motor vehicle theft. There were increases in murder from 2 in 2009 to 5 in 2010; robbery, from 11 in 2009 to 19 last year.
The Sheriff’s Office Clearance Rate for the year is 21.8 percent. There are two ways to clear a case: by arrest, or “Cleared by Exception”, which means an offender has been identified, but there is something beyond the agency’s control which keeps that offender from being arrested. An example would be that the offender is dead, extradition is denied or the case involves a juvenile offender who cannot be charged for some reason.
“While we always strive to close as many cases as we possibly can, it can be more difficult here in the Keys because our population – both citizens and visitors – are so transient. It is really hard to solve a case when the suspect, the victim or both are no longer in the county,” said Sheriff Peryam.
“The big picture is our crime continues to decrease, and that’s what we like to see. In 1991, we had 7,570 crimes per 100,000 people here in Monroe County. Now we have 4,145 per 100,000 people. Obviously, the county is a much safer place to live and to visit now than it was 20 years ago,” said Sheriff Peryam. “That doesn’t mean we can let our guards down, though. We all have to do our part to keep ourselves and our families safe and secure, even here in the fabulous Florida Keys,” he said.
For more information, and additional crime statistics for Monroe County and for other counties around the state, go to www.fdle.state.fl.us.