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Police weigh in on Fort Myers ranking 8th safest place to live in the country, according to new survey

Posted at 8:13 AM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 11:06:44-04

FORT MYERS, Fla.  — Good news for the city of Fort Myers.

A new study done by US News and World Report ranked Fort Myers as the 8th safest place to live in the country.

The survey uses information from cities based on their population and FBI crime stats.

Captain Jason Fields, FMPD says a lot of their success in helping keep the city safe is by moving on from old police tactics.

“Instead of using, a police term, a shotgun approach, just going out there and randomly patrolling, we are focusing our efforts into where the crime is happening, right then and there. What’s happening right now, opposed to just looking at the big picture,” said Fields.

The study didn’t release the exact numbers from the FBI report so Fox 4 wanted to dig a bit deeper to see how Fort Myers stacked up.

In the 2019 report by the FBI, Fort Myers, with a population of just over 85,127, there were 9 murders and 1,952 property crimes.

If we compare that to our neighbors up north in the city of Largo who have a similar population size, they had fewer murders but surpass Fort Myers property crimes with a total of 2,348 (+396).

Fields says another big piece for the department is their manpower.

He says they are not only looking to hire more officers but they are also increasing the size of their specialized police units that can put a more precise focus on certain issues of public safety within the city.

It also comes down to communication, the Fort Myers Police Department says they are constantly training officers to find better ways to communicate safely and effectively with the city.

“Every year, police make in general makes hundreds of millions of police contacts, and all those interactions can go very volatile, they can be very positive, so every single contact has to be 100% on board. We have a very small margin of error we have to get it right we have to be perfect every single time and that’s what we are striving to be,” said Fields.

As for their city's latest ranking, FMPD says they can’t give credit to just one person.

“From the chief down, everybody plays a vital role in keeping the city safe. We all come to work with a problem-solving mentality, we have to! We are faced with issues every day and every one of those issues we face we have come up with the best and safest possible outcome or solution,” said Fields.

Fort Myers PD also provided Fox 4 with additional data on crime numbers in 2020.

In 2020, the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says Fort Myers had 9 murders, 193 burglaries, and crime was down 15.7% from the previous year (2019).