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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Wilder, Scott

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 2/16/2011 

 Crime Rate Decreases Again in Polk County 


2010 Crime rate is down 6.8% in Polk County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction—violent crime is down 13.03%.  Polk Crime rate at historic low. 

“Don’t allow ‘prison reform’ to reverse positive crime trends.”  —Sheriff Grady Judd 

Polk County's crime rate in the unincorporated areas and contract cities[i] (for which the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is responsible) declined from 2009 to 2010, 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 6.8% from 2009 (3.181) to 2010 (2.965). This is the lowest crime rate ever measured in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, breaking the 2006 all-time low of 3.02 crimes per 100.  Reliable crime statistics in Polk County started in 1971, when the crime rate was 4.16. 

The Polk/PCSO crime rate is nearly one third less (32.6%) than the most recently published Florida state crime rate (2.965 compared to 4.398)[ii].  The Polk/PCSO violent crime rate is 43.6% lower than the state violent crime rate (.341 compared to .605). 

According to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) statistics, as reported semi-annually and annually to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)[i], there were 733 fewer crimes in 2010 than in 2009 in the Sheriff’s Office primary jurisdiction.  There were 12,111 crimes in 2009 as compared to 11,378 crimes in 2010. 

Violent crime is down 13% in Polk’s unincorporated area and Sheriff’s Office contract cities.  There were a total of 1,504 violent crimes in 2009 and 1,308 in 2010, a reduction of 196 crimes.   

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

 

Category

2009

2010

Difference 09/10

 

 

 

 

Homicide

16

12

-25.00%

Forced Sex Offenses

203

156

-23.15%

Robberies

195

202

3.59%

Aggravated Assault/   Battery

1,090

938

-13.94%

Total Violent Crime

1,504

1,308

-13.03%

Burglaries

3,972

3,377

-14.98%

Larcenies

6,038

6,159

2.00%

Motor Vehicle Thefts

597

534

-10.55%

Total Non-Violent Crime

10,607

10,070

-5.06%

Total Crime

12,111

11,378

-6.05%

Population

380,723

383,747

0.79%

Crime Rate (per 100)

3.181

2.965

-6.80%

About “Prison Reform” 

“We are enjoying historically low crime rates in Polk County and in Florida.  One of the most important reasons for this is we have insisted that convicted criminals go to prison for a minimum of 85% of their sentence since the mid 1990s.  This has been one of the most successful criminal justice reforms in our history.  Crime goes down when you put more criminals in prison where they belong.  Incapacitation works.  If the people predisposed to prey on innocents are in jail or prison, they can’t hurt us.”  —Sheriff Grady Judd 

I am concerned about the recent calls for ‘prison reform.’  Some of us who have been around a while know that when we become less serious about justly punishing criminals, people end up getting hurt and our property that we work hard for gets stolen.  The Florida Legislature and the Governor need to tread carefully, so any proposed ‘reform’ doesn’t end up balancing the state’s budget on the backs of innocent citizens.  Florida’s highest priority is public safety.  The state’s funding priorities must reflect this truth.  The bottom line:  Prison ‘reform’ must be focused on public safety, crime reduction, victim’s rights, and personal responsibility (negative consequences for breaking the law).  People who break the law should be punished—fairly, swiftly, and without apologies.  The more our criminal justice system does just that, the better—and safer—our communities will be.”  —Sheriff Grady Judd 

Keeping criminals in jail and prison where they belong works—effective policing strategies also have a major impact on crime.  Comparing 2010 to 1997, when the Polk County Sheriff’s Office implemented its Proactive Community Attack on Problems (PROCAP) program, crime is down 40.6%, and the crime rate is down 55.6%.  PROCAP is a philosophy that emphasizes crime data analysis, community-oriented policing, and problem-oriented policing.  Rather than reacting, law enforcement efforts are focused on the systematic collection and analysis of intelligence and statistical data to determine where and when crime is occurring, and increasing law enforcement presence and formulating crime reduction strategies in identified areas to prevent future crimes.



[i] PCSO Contract Cities: Polk City, Frostproof, Eagle Lake, Ft. Meade, Dundee, and Mulberry; one year city data included only; partial year data and population not included.

[ii] 2009 FDLE published state crime rate (the 2010 rate has not yet been published).