FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – In Florida and in the areas where the Broward Sheriff’s Office provides service, the crime rate fell in 2013, officials said.
According to BSO, violent crimes declined in 2013 as did property crimes and the arrests of juveniles.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel credited targeting investigative work, enhanced work with the community and intelligence led policing as some of the the efforts that led to a major drop in the crime rate.
“We’re going after the most violent offenders,” Israel told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “We’re using confidential informants, we’re using surveillances and sophisticated investigations.”
Here are the stats: Violent crimes dropped by 13 percent, robberies fell by 21 percent, car thefts decreased by 14 percent and juvenile arrests dropped nearly 22 percent from 2012 to 2013.
Israel says BSO’s new VIPER Unit, which focuses on the worst of the worst offenders, made a big dent in the crime rate. He also said the county wide effort to keep first time juvenile offenders who commit minor offenses out of jail and place them in a diversion program is having success.
“We can only measure our success by the amount of kids we keep out of jail,” he said. “Not the kids we put in jail.”
Statewide the crime rate is falling as well. Governor Rick Scott says crime fell 4.7 percent in 2013 to a 43 year low. Scott said that’s good for business.
“All the businesses in our state want to be in a low crime area,” Scott told reporters on Wednesday.
In Broward County, Israel says BSO is focused on using smarter techniques, crime stats and good old fashioned investigation work to try and predict where crimes might happen before they do.
“We’re going to continue to make this county as safe a place to live as we possibly can,” Israel said.
Israel said he is extremely pleased at the low recidivism rate for juveniles who are placed in a diversion program rather than going to jail. He said the recidivism rate is only 4 percent.
Israel also told CBS 4 News that in some areas of the county the number of sexual assaults rose but he said that is because those crimes are being calculated differently now by the FBI.