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3 Big Bend counties see spike in crime, others see major decreases

Posted at 7:22 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 19:22:46-04

(WTXL) — While a newly released FDLE report says Leon County had the highest crime rate in the state of Florida for the fifth year in a row, the report also reveals three other local counties also saw a spike in crime last year.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Annual Uniform Crime Report , the counties that saw an increase in crime rate from 2017 to 2018 were Franklin (+ 58.5%), Jefferson (+17.4%) and Suwannee (+2%). The crime rate calculation is based on population and the total number of index crimes reported per 100,000 people.

The data shows that Franklin County had a decrease in population by about 150 people. From 2017 to 2018, the number of rapes and robberies stayed the same in Franklin, but the number of aggravated assaults more than doubled from 21 to 51. There was also a single homicide reported in 2018 while there was zero in 2017. In the end, the report shows the violent crime rate saw a 130.9 percent spike from 2017 to 2018 .

Property crime also grew in Franklin County, with the number of larceny crimes nearly doubling from year-to-year. Based on the data, the county's property crime rate increased 47.1 percent.

Unlike Franklin, Jefferson County's population grew by 122 people from 2017 to 2018. Violent crime lowered in the county across most categories, though there were two more homicides and two more robberies reported last year than in 2017. However, there were more motor vehicle thefts and burglaries, which contributed to the property crime rate increasing by 13 percent.

Suwannee County experienced the least change in crime rate from 2017 to 2018, sporting a 13.6 percent decrease in the violent crime rate despite a slight increase in the number of robberies. There was also a single homicide reported in 2018 while there was zero in 2017. The county's property crime rate ticked up 7.6 percent from 2017 to 2018. The county also welcomed in nearly 200 new residents, according to FDLE's report.

The counties where the crime rate decreased were Wakulla (-2.1%), Taylor (-5.4%), Jackson (-7.5%), Gadsden and Lafayette counties (-13%), Hamilton (-14.5%), Liberty (-32.4%), and Madison (-45.5%).

This is also the 48th consecutive year the state of Florida has seen a drop in its crime rate. Overall, violent crime offenses dropped 4.2 percent while property crimes fell 7.9 percent.

“Florida’s low crime rate is no accident. It is the result of hard work by our deputies, with the support from Florida’s strong public safety laws,” said President of the Florida Sheriffs Association and Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter. "A major reason we enjoy a 48-year low in the crime rate today is because criminals are serving the time they deserve and not creating more crime victims by receiving a ‘get out of jail free’ card."

To read the full report, click here.