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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 2/13/2015 

 2014 Polk Uniform Crime Report Data:  Crime Down 7.60% in Polk County Sheriff’s Office Jurisdiction 


According to Uniform Crime Report (UCR) statistics, as reported semi-annually and annually to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), there were 703 fewer crimes in 2014 than in 2013 in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office primary jurisdiction.  The jurisdiction includes all of unincorporated Polk County; cities contracted with the PCSO including Polk City, Frostproof, Eagle Lake, Fort Meade, Dundee, and Mulberry; and the town of Hillcrest Heights and the village of Highland Park (a combined population of 406,920 people). 

There were 9,248 crimes in 2013 as compared to 8,545 crimes in 2014, a total reduction in reported crimes of 7.60%.  This decline continues a trend of six consecutive years of lower crime and crime rates in PCSO’s jurisdiction.  Crime declined 6.53% from 2012 to 2013.   

Non-Violent crime is down 7.75% in Polk’s unincorporated area and Sheriff’s Office contract cities. There were a total of 7,922 non-violent crimes in 2013 and 7,308 in 2014, a reduction of 614 crimes. 

Violent crime is down 6.71% in Polk’s unincorporated area and Sheriff’s Office contract cities. There were a total of 1,326 violent crimes in 2013 and 1,237 in 2014, a reduction of 89 violent crimes.  The number of homicides in 2014 was 4, the lowest number ever recorded for PCSO’s jurisdictions since reliable statistics have been gathered and reported (since 1971).   

There were decreases in the following crime categories: homicides; forced sex offenses; aggravated assault; burglaries, and larcenies.  Two crime categories showed small increases (robberies and motor vehicle thefts—an increase of 12 robberies and 36 vehicle thefts); overall crime was down 7.6% and the crime rate (crimes per 100 persons) is down 8.7%.

 

Crime in the Polk County unincorporated area and Sheriff’s Office contract cities:

 

Category

2013

2014

 

Homicides

8

4

 

Forced Sex Offenses

128

94

 

Robberies

147

159

 

Aggravated Assaults

1,043

980

 

Burglaries

2,693

2,466

 

Larcenies

4,689

4,266

 

Motor Vehicle Thefts

540

576

 

TOTAL CRIMES

9,248

8,545

 

Polk crime rate is at historic low. 

Polk County's crime rate in the unincorporated areas and contract cities (for which the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is responsible) also dropped from 2013 to 2014, according to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) statistics reported annually to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 

The crime rate, which is the number of crimes per 100 residents, is down 8.7% from 2013 (2.30) to 2014 (2.10). This is the lowest crime rate ever measured in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, breaking the previous record low of 2.30 crimes per 100 from last year. Reliable crime statistics in Polk County started in 1971, when the crime rate was recorded at 4.16 crimes per 100.

Since 1997, the crime rate in Polk County has fallen by 69%.  The Polk/PCSO crime rate is 42% less than the Florida state crime rate (2.1 compared to 3.63)[i].

 

“I could not be more grateful for the people of Polk County and for our men and women of the Sheriff’s Office for the continued decrease in crime in Polk County.  This is the sixth consecutive year of lower crime in our jurisdiction.  This continues our ongoing progress towards improving the quality of life in Polk County for our communities, families, neighbors, businesses, friends, and visitors.  There are many factors that contribute to lower crime—such as target hardening (anti-theft systems in cars, homes, neighborhoods, and businesses), demographic changes, and others—but there are two critically important reasons why crime remains low.  First: convicted felons who are sent to prison in Florida stay there for a minimum of 85% of their sentence (mandated by state statute).  This Florida law, among other tough-on-crime measures, has been tremendously successful in holding criminals accountable for their crimes and separating them from society.  When people who break the law are punished—fairly, swiftly, and without apologies—and they are temporarily separated from civil society, our communities become safer.  Second:  we have developed more effective policing strategies. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office implemented its Proactive Community Attack on Problems (PROCAP) program in 1997. Since then, the crime rate has fallen by 69%.  Our policing philosophy emphasizes proactive strategies, focusing on known community problems, effectively using technology to implement our prevention strategies, and working hand-in-hand with the community.  Because we lock up those responsible for crime, and work hard with the community to prevent, solve, and fight crime, Polk County is a better place to live, work, and play.” —Sheriff Grady Judd

 

[i] 2013 FDLE published state crime rate.