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Florida crime rate on track for 42-year low

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Florida’s crime rate for the first half of 2013 was down more than 5 percent from a year earlier, putting the state’s crime rate at a 42-year low, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said Tuesday.

At a Cabinet meeting in the Capitol, Bailey said the early numbers from the FDLE‘s Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report should hold for the rest of the second half of the year leading into Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election campaign.

floridacrime1119“It’s an excellent indication of what we’re going to see in the annual report,” Bailey said.

Scott was pleased with the news.

At the Cabinet meeting, Scott noted that the state’s crime rate is important to tourism – the mainstay of Florida’s economy – as well as his efforts to attract businesses and jobs.

In a release, he said the drop in crime “sends a signal to the rest of the world that Florida is a great place to find opportunities and raise a family.”

“Our communities are on a path to a 43 year crime low, which improves the quality of life for families and benefits all aspects of our communities,” he stated.

According to the report, violent crime — murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault — was down 3.5 percent. Non-violent crime — burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft —  was down 5.5 percent, led by motor vehicle thefts, which dropped 9.6 percent.

In his presentation, Bailey listed the four Florida police officers who have died on duty this year: Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Rivera, Broward County; Sgt. Mike Wilson, Charlotte County; Master Deputy Joseph Robbins, Polk County; and Sgt. Gary Morales, St. Lucie County.

In the release, Attorney General Pam Bondi said Florida should remember the families of those officers.

“As we enjoy safer communities in which to live, work, and raise our families, let us always keep the law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty in our thoughts and prayers,” she stated.

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