NEW: County crime rate dipped in 2017 as murder total rose, FDLE says


It’s never been safer to be a Floridian.

That’s one takeaway from crime statistics for 2017 released this week by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

According to FDLE, the state’s crime rate is the lowest since Florida began keeping statistics 47 years ago and dropped 4.5 percent compared to 2016.

The story was the same in Palm Beach County, where the crime rated dropped 5.6 percent last year compared to 2016.

West Palm Beach led way as killings rose in county during 2017

Statewide, murders dropped to 1,057 from 1,108 in 2016. The 2016 numbers include the 49 people killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Of the 1,057 people murdered last year, 791 — almost 75 percent — were killed by firearms, according to the FDLE.

Robberies, aggravated assaults, larcenies, burglaries and thefts all plunged in Palm Beach County, but murders jumped more than 20 percent to 92 from 76.

According to a Palm Beach Post online database, there were 103 homicides in the county last year. Homcides can include justifiable deaths which are not crimes like murder.

West Palm Beach had 25 murders, the FDLE said. The Post’s database lists 28 homicides in the city during 2017. The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office reported 21 murders in 2017.

2017 triple murder obscures Jupiter’s falling crime rate

West Palm Beach had more murders in its borders than areas patrolled by PBSO, despite a population of 110,396 compared to the 624,000 residents served by the sheriff’s office.

Rapes and motor vehicle thefts also increased in Palm Beach County during 2017, the report shows.

In Boynton Beach, the crime rate plunged 11 percent. The city saw significant drops in several categories. One in which it rose was murder, which climbed to nine from one.

Assistant Chief Joseph DeGiulio attributed the falling numbers to a crime-prevention program that includes officers attending Neighborhood Watch meetings, working with local businesses and mentoring juvenile offenders.

The department’s attention to social media is also helping the city to fight crime, DeGiulio said.

“We have solved cases by posting photographs of suspects on social media,” DeGiulio said.

Jupiter police reported four murders in 2017 after none the previous year. Three of those murders took place Feb. 5 when Brandi El-Salhy, 24, Kelli J. Doherty, 20, and Sean P. Henry, 25, were killed Feb. 5 by gunmen during an attempted robbery while they sat outside a home on Mohawk Street.

Crime up slightly in Wellington thanks to car thefts, break-ins

Martin County bucked the statewide trend and saw its crime rate jump by 14.6 percent. The biggest increase from 2016 were robberies, which rose nearly 45 percent.

Only six of the state’s 67 counties experienced a larger increase in its crime rate than Martin County.



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