TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Florida’s crime rate dropped 4.9% and crime volume dropped 3.6% in 2014, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Annual Uniform Crime Report released today.
“I am proud today to stand with our state’s law enforcement community to celebrate Florida’s 44 year low crime rate," Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a release. "This news is made possible by the brave men and women who protect our communities and risk their lives every day to ensure our families are safe. Florida’s low crime rate contributes to the state’s economic growth and momentum. It’s truly a reason why more and more people are visiting and moving to the Sunshine State to live their dreams.”
According to the report, the number of violent crimes (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) in the Sunshine State was down by .7%, mostly due to a decrease in robberies. The report showed a 1% increase in murders, a 3.8% increase in sex offenses, a 6.9% decrease in robberies, and a 1% increase in aggravated assaults.
Non-violent crime (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) fell 4.1% overall. Burglary and larceny were down 12.8% and 1.9%, respectively. But the number of motor vehicle thefts increased by 3.6%.
Domestic violence offenses continued a decade-long decline as Florida's population ages, showing a 1% drop when compared to 2013. Domestic violence murders were up 24 deaths last year while domestic violence manslaughter was down five deaths.
Of significant note is that the relationships of the victim and offender have changed dramatically over the last four years. Spouse-on-spouse murders have dropped from 66 in 2011 to 46 in 2014, while parents murdering children have doubled from 19 to 38 during the same time period. The largest change was in the number of "other family" victim/offender murders which has nearly quadrupled from 7 in 2011 to 27 in 2014.
“We are pleased that overall domestic violence incidents declined slightly last year," said Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence President/CEO Tiffany Carr. "However, we are deeply concerned about the significant increase in domestic violence murders during the same time period."
The number of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty increased in 2014 to six deaths. Four officers died after being shot and two were killed by vehicles.
Overall, Brevard County's crime decreased by 6.3% in 2014. Burglaries had the largest crime category drop (-23.8%) from 3,751 in 2013 to 2,874 in 2014. Of all jurisdictions within Brevard County, the City of Palm Bay saw the biggest increase in its crime rate (+17.3%) while Melbourne Village saw the largest drop (-38.9%).