State agency reports county crime rate up over 2016’s first half



While the number of overall crimes across the state went down in the first six months of the year compared to the first six months of 2015, Palm Beach County’s crime statistics went up slightly, according to state statistics released Monday.

The county had a 3.7 percent increase in overall crimes, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s semi-annual uniform crime report.

Statewide, there was a 3.4 percent decrease. The state saw decreases in the number of robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and larcenies, while murders were up by more than 15 percent, rapes were up by nearly 2 percent and motor vehicle thefts were up by more than 4 percent.

The state’s murder total includes the 49 people killed in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting on June 12.

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In a statement released Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott praised the efforts of law enforcement agencies to reduce the overall crime rate but added that more must be done.

“Florida’s steadily decreasing crime rate is a true testament to the hard work and commitment of our brave law enforcement officers,” Scott said. “As the crime rate continues to decrease, it is clear that our shared goal of creating safe neighborhoods is working. While this is great news, there is still work to be done and we must continue to focus on reducing crime and making Florida the safest place to raise a family.”

In Palm Beach County, there was a decrease in the number of murders and rapes, while there were increases in the number of robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts, according to the FDLE statistics.

Palm Beach County’s law-enforcement agencies reported 24,248 crimes during the first six months of 2016 compared to 23,382 during the first half of 2015. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the county’s largest law-enforcement agency reported 7,796 crimes in the first half of 2016 compared to 7,127 during the same period in 2015.

In West Palm Beach, the number of rapes reported from January to June was 41, compared to 25 over the same period in 2015.


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