Crime down in county
Crime dropped more than 16 percent countywide in 2012 compared to 2011, according to Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight.
Data for Sarasota County in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Index released Friday shows violent crimes such as robbery, murder and aggravated assault decreased by nearly 18 percent. There were 359,051 crimes reported in 2012, with 46,881 of them considered violent.
Burglary is down more than 26 percent and fraud dropped nearly 28 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.
Knight credits “proactive policing efforts” for the decline in crime.
“(Policing) driven by our agencywide ‘Intelligence 2 Action’ program is having a major impact on crime,” Knight said in a statement. “Consistent information sharing helps us develop quality intelligence, which allows us to target the biggest problems in our community and focus our energy on those who repeatedly commit these crimes.”
The Intelligence 2 Action program works when deputies and other community partners provide information to the department. The intelligence is analyzed, then used to help pinpoint and solve crimes and track trends.
For example, the SCSO recently arrested a man after three pieces of evidence were gathered about nine vehicle burglaries that occurred in the same neighborhood. Using data given by a victim who thought she saw the suspect, the investigator was able to find an repeat offender — such suspects are tracked and monitored by the SCSO — who matched the description. Deputies found the offender had used a credit card that was reported stolen from one of the vehicles.
“We are taking the information to create actionable intelligence,” said Wendy Rose, SCSO spokeswoman. “Everyone is plugged into someone else. For example, if you know your neighborhood and see someone putting fliers on doors on houses on your street, but then they go to the back door, you know something isn’t right — especially if your neighbor isn’t home.
“By calling the sheriff’s office, we use that information or data (description of the suspicious person, what they were driving and direction they were driving), to further investigate. Sometimes we find the person is really pretending to leave fliers, but what they are looking for is an empty home that they can burglarize.”
In 2012, there were 358 firearm-related arrests, compared to 331 in 2011. There were 23 more murders in 2012 (a total of 101) than last year, but only two manslaughter arrests in 2012 compared to seven in 2011. There were 505 forcible rapes in 2012, which is 33 more than 2011. There were 8,413 aggravated assault cases, compared to 9,110 in 2011. There were 42,447 simple assault cases compared to 44,698 in 2011. There were 100 aggravated stalking cases, 11 fewer than in 2011.
The SCSO also reported $610,095,067 worth of items (money, vehicles, furs, jewelry, home goods, office equipment, consumable goods, electronics, etc.) was stolen countywide in 2012, with authorities recovering $122,213,997. Included in that total was $563,395 recovered in missing firearms.
To see the full report, visit www.SarasotaSheriff.org and under Public Interest, click on Crime & Accident Statistics, then Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics, and choose January 2012.