Florida crime at a 50-year low

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) reports the state is at a 50-year low in crime rates.

FDLE began tracking crime statistics in 1971 which covers what is known as index crimes. Index crimes include, murders, property crimes, domestic violence, assaults, burglaries and other crimes. Those statistics are compiled into the Annual Uniform Crime Report.
The State of Florida, as a whole, shows the total crime rate is down 8.3 percent, or 38,524 fewer reported index crimes, for the 2021 calendar year compared to 2020.

FDLE shows both violent and property crimes, as well as domestic violence, decreased in 2021.

While the state is at an all-time low, Holmes County is up seven percent in 2021 from the year prior. In 2020, the total crime index was 248 with a slight increase to 267 in 2021. However, the clearance rate of cases increased for the county. Out of 100 cases, an average of 72.6 were cleared in 2020 and 76.8 were cleared in 2021.
Holmes County Sheriff John Tate says there has been an increase in reported crimes.

“We experience an uptick in reported crimes from time to time,” said Tate. “We don’t know why things trend the way they do. The worry is the increase that is going on now, especially due to inflation and the numbers climbing in theft cases. Our clearance rate is up which means we are clearing and closing cases thanks to the hard work of our deputies and staff.”

According to the FDLE website, 239 Florida law enforcement agencies submitted summary-based crime stats covering 57.5 percent of the population. Data received was combined into a statewide aggregate covering the entire population of Florida and compared to 2020 annual figures to determine statewide trends for 2021.

Not all agencies submitted summary-based crime statistics because they are transitioning to Florida Incident-Based Reporting System (FIBRS). Twenty-nine agencies have transitioned to incident-based uniform crime reporting, while at least 140 are in the process of transitioning. Agencies can backfill data from previous reporting periods as they fully transition. Florida incident-based crime statistics will be posted online later this year.

Washington CountyÂ’s total crime index for 2020 is listed at 291 and has a clearance rate average of 54.6 out of 100 cases. The numbers for 2021 are not yet listed.

According to Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews, Washington County is among the counties that are transitioning to the FIBRS reporting system.

“Our statistics aren’t reported for 2021 yet, but we anticipate a decrease in our numbers,” said Crews. “There are several computer related bugs on the state side of the FIBRS system that we have been trying to overcome for more than a year. The transition is and has been an ongoing process that we hope will be completed soon.”

A FDLE press release said incident-based crime statistics provide more robust and dynamic crime reporting. FIBRS collects 56 more offense categories than summary-based reporting, including more detailed victim, offender, arrestee and property data on each crime occurrence. This expanded set of data can be used by law enforcement agencies to target their resources more effectively, by governments to guide policy and by researchers and the public working to understand crime in Florida.