Crime

Daily ignores City of Pensacola crime problem, murders tripled in 2012

May 17, 2013

Jail Bars
In its Friday edition, the daily newspaper attempts to go after Sheriff David Morgan for the rise in crime rate last year but ignores the much steeper increase in violent crimes inside the city of Pensacola.

Let’s compare the crime stats for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office for 2012 and 2011. The 5.9 increase in crime is tied  primarily to increases in burglary (556) and  Aggravated Assault (236).

 

Escambia County
2012 2011  Change
Population  247,489  247,322  167
Index Crime  13,245  12,510
Change  5.9  1.0
Murder  15  14  1
Forcible sex  132  140  (8)
Robbery  412  463  (51)
Agg. Assault  1,401  1,165  236
Burglary  3,156  2,600  556
Larceny  7,579  7,543  36
Car Theft  550  585  (35)
Crime Rate  5,352  5,058
Rate Change  5.8  4.9

However, the ECSO’s percentage of cleared cases is the highest since 2005:

Cleared %
2012 26.3
2011 20.9
2010 22.8
2009 25.3
2008 25.8
2007 25.1
2006 23.5
2005 26.7

The City of Pensacola had a huge jump in murders in 2012–which more than tripled. Burglaries and Aggravated Assaults are also up.

Pensacola 2012 2011  Change
Population  52,022  51,939  83
Index Crime  3,505  3,357
Change  4.4  13.2
Murder  7  2  5
Forcible sex  30  28  2
Robbery  89  102  (13)
Agg. Assault  347  251  96
Burglary  711  610  101
Larceny  2,201  2,226  (25)
Car Theft  120  138  (18)
Crime Rate  6,738  6,436
Rate Change  4.2  18.5

Pensacola’s seven murders are the most since the city began reporting its crime stats to FDLE in 2001:

 

Murders
2012 7
2011 2
2010 3
2009 3
2008 4
2007 3
2006 1
2005 1
2004 1
2003 4
2002 1
2001 3

 

When you compare the crime rates of the county with the city (per 100,000 people), Pensacola has a bigger problem:

 

Escambia Pensacola
Murder 6.06 13.41
Forcible sex 53.34 57.47
Robbery 166.47 170.49
Agg. Assault 566.09 664.72
Burglary 1275.21 1362.01
Larceny 3062.36 4216.30
Car Theft 222.23 229.88

Recommendation for the daily: It’s best to look at all the statistics before using them.

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  • Nick May 19, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I live in city limits and feel safe. In fact, I live in what some would say used to be one of the areas with the highest crime rate, A St. Not sure if it still is. But I feel safe. I walk home or ride my bike late at night on a regular basis. Most violent crimes do not seem random. Is there a statistic that can pinpoint random acts of violence? If that increases, I might get worried. But until then, Pensacola is about as safe as a city as you’ll get.

  • jeeperman May 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Now tell us how our crime rates compare to our neighboring counties.

  • CJ Lewis May 17, 2013 at 9:33 am

    The safest place to live around here may be Pace where you can hardly drive through a neighborhood without seeing at least one Pensacola Police Department police cruiser parked in a driveway. I do not know a single person who would say they truly feel “safe” living in the City of Pensacola. I live in the Scenic Heights neighborhood in the northeastern corner of the city, out on the “frontier” as I like to say, where the city boundary weaves about in a helter-skelter manner. Earlier this week, we had sales reps knocking on doors on our street selling home security systems as they talked up the burglaries in our neighborhood.

    Earlier this year, my wife Yvonne and I completed the Pensacola Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy. It was an excellent course but a few too many times for comfort I heard officers respond off-the-cuff to citizen’s questions about why something is no longer done or why the officers do not have something they say they need with an almost too standardized response, “It’s not in the budget.” I blame the Pensacola City Council as much as Mayor Ashton Hayward because this is an issue that also existed in the former Council-Manager form of government. The Council only gives lip service to the idea that “Public Safety is Job #1.” Council President P.C. Wu recently said that the Council cannot be held accountable for public safety. I expect Wu will eventually have citizens removed from Council Chambers if they complain about crime in the city during the Council’s Open Forum segment, Hayward AWOL as usual.

    We had several media types in our class like Cat Country’s Brent Lane and WEAR Channel 3’s Amber Southard. Several times during the class there were unscripted discussions about crime in the city. In general, as the police officers see it, crime in the city is not so bad and mostly blown out of proportion by the media. The police officers seemed to think the situation is OK compared to the so-called bad old days in the 1980s. Hayward unexpectedly showed up at one class almost breathless after an exciting day of crime fighting. He magically appeared uninvited by the class just in time to be in our class photo. They don’t call him the “Photo Op Mayor” for nothing. However, we were later told that Hayward could not be at our class graduation, handing out our diplomas, because that would have meant he had attended more of our classes than City Council meetings. We all laughed.

    With the notable exception of Commissioner Lumon May, and maybe Councilman Gerald Wingate too, crime does not seem to be much of a hot button topic among our elected officials. The rest presumably imagine it will eventually go away, it’s someone else’s problem or everyone will eventually move to Santa Rosa County or, even safer, Baldwin County. We have many law enforcement agencies in Escambia County if you include those on the military bases and local colleges/university. Having also graduated from the Sheriff’s Citizens Law Enforcement Academy, and spent about a year total of my Marine Corps Intelligence career serving on joint counterdrug multi-agency task forces, I do not have a good sense that law enforcement agencies around here talk enough with each other.

    The City of Pensacola’s population is about 17% of Escambia County’s population crammed into about 4% of the land mass, about 23 square miles. The Sheriff’s Office patrols the other 620 square miles of Escambia County to include the Town of Century. To be fair, the Sheriff’s Office probably does a pretty good job with the little it is given to cover such a massive area. If he factored in the burden of geography, in addition to population numbers, Sheriff David Morgan might even need more than the 44 Deputy Sheriffs he says in his budget submission letter that he is short for Law Enforcement.

    I will be the first in line to praise the Pensacola Police Department. It is run like a crack military outfit. When we call for service in our neighborhood, they show up fast, often in minutes. On the other hand, it is counterintuitive that city residents pay so much more for law enforcement yet have higher crime. The Pensacola Police Department is not cheap. It costs city residents more than $19,000,000 this year if you include $750,700 in Penny For Progress dollars to pay for police capital equipment and police vehicles that presumably need to be replaced more often if driven every day to and from Molino, Pace, Milton, etc. During the 2008 mayoral campaign, soon-to-be Mayor Mike Wiggins told the PNJ Editorial Board that driving police vehicles more miles made them last longer. I unsuccessfully countered that several months earlier Fleet Management Division had told me that they replaced police vehicles based on mileage. How about we pay police officers a special housing allowance if they live inside city limits?

    I served as one of two City appointees to the 25-member Escambia County Consolidation Study Commission. Political consolidation seemed a disastrous idea at the time because of the multiple hidden agenda at work. John Peacock’s goal of a strongman like Hayward running a countywide Consolidated Government with an iron fist for the benefit of politically well-connected business owners remains a terrifying prospect for anyone who likes transparent government. However, functional consolidation in the area of Public Safety was one opportunity we might have salvaged. That idea died when the Commission imploded dissolving itself out of existence. However, wouldn’t a first step in the right direction be to discuss ways for the Sheriff’s Office and the Pensacola Police Department to work more closely together in areas such as Dispatch, Crime Lab and SWAT? Someone on the Council should bravely make a motion Monday to hold a joint meeting with Escambia County and Sheriff Morgan to discuss crime. Hayward can come too if he has the time knowing he can leave early when he gets bored.

  • Leroy Carter May 17, 2013 at 8:43 am

    If I remember correctly the murders in 2012 were related to 2 families going after each other. Is this correct?

  • Citizen May 17, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Rick, the clearance rate still doesn’t look good to me. Do you have any other counties clearance rate in the State to compare these too? Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Rick Outzen May 17, 2013 at 8:03 am

      Will do. When burglaries are the main crime, that could impact clearance because of the difficulties in solving those crimes–which are often due to negligence of the owners, such as not locking car or house.