LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Numbers show statewide crime decreased during the first half of 2020, compared to the same time frame in 2019.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report, Florida saw an 11.7% decrease in overall crime.
That dip is mainly due to a significant decrease in property crime, which, according to the report, decreased by 13.9%.
While property crime decreased, violent crime increased by .8% statewide.
The statistics presented in the report are an indication of crime and criminal activities known to and reported by law enforcement agencies from January through June 2020.
“what I’m seeing is, not just in Florida but in other states — I have been looking at New York and Pennsylvania, and other places — they are seeing similar surges in violent crime, while there is a correspondent decrease in property crime,” said Pamella Seay, Justice Studies Professor, Florida Gulf Coast University.
Seay says these numbers give a glimpse of how the pandemic has impacted crime rates.
According to the report, total domestic violence offenses increased by 1.2% statewide.
“if you’re quarantined, you’re not committing these property crimes because you’re not leaving your house; on the flip side of that, if you’re not leaving your house, you’re there with the same people over and over,” said Seay.
In Southwest Florida, total crime rates decreased:
- Charlotte County -3.3%
- Collier County -8.7%
- Desoto County -5.6%
- Glades County -38.8%
- Hendry County -20.2%
- Lee County - 5.6%
Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, and Lee Counties all report a decrease in larceny, but Hendry and Lee Counties did see an increase in murders.
“When we see the next round of reports that should come out in the next 6-months, we will probably see something very similar to what we have here,” said Seay.
Seay says the second half of the report will help paint a better picture.
“Because right now, most of what we’re seeing is kind of a guess, we know what's going on, and we see the trends, but we need to know they are directly related, and that's going to take some time,” said Seay.
To view FDLE’s Statewide County report, click here.