TAMPA (CBSMiami/AP) — Crime in Florida has dropped to its lowest rate in more than 40 years, officials announced Wednesday.
“We’re at a 43 year low in our crime rate, and that’s impressive,” said Gov. Rick Scott.
The overall number of crimes in 2013 fell by 27,380 or 4.7 percent, to 698,607, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which has been keeping crime statistics since 1971. There were 970 murders in 2013, a 3.9 percent drop from the previous year.
There was a 2.8 percent drop in all sex offenses. Most major crimes saw a decrease, according to statistics. One exception was pickpocketing, which rose nearly 10 percent from 2012.
Violent crime is down 2.4 percent, while nonviolent crime decreased by 4 percent, said Gerald Bailey, the commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Bailey said data sharing among agencies and new technology has helped officers in crime reduction.
Crime in Florida’s biggest counties is down — 2.9 percent in Miami-Dade County, 6.4 percent in Hillsborough, 6.3 percent in Broward, 4.3 in Jacksonville and less than 1 percent in Pinellas.
Law enforcement leaders were quick to credit the officers on the street.
“At the end of the day it’s that deputy sheriff, that police officer, that state trooper who is out on the road at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, who makes a difference,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee.
A total of 904,634 arrests were made in Florida in 2013.
Florida’s law enforcement agencies had an overall case clearance rate of 26 percent, according to statistics provided by the FDLE. Clearing a case generally means that there was an arrest, someone was charged, or that the case was turned over to the court for prosecution.
Some counties solved cases better than others. Hillsborough County, for instance, cleared 32 percent of its cases. Miami-Dade County cleared 18 percent of its cases.
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