Overall crime down, murders set a new record

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has released the crime statistics for the first six months of 2020. The overall crime index dropped 9.4% in comparison to the same period of 2019. The biggest percentage drops were at UWF (62.8%) and PSC (73.7%), whose campuses were closed for three of the months.

The Crime Index is the second lowest in the past 20 years. In 2017, the index was 4740. The highest crime index was in 2012 – 8620.

Escambia County 2019 2020 Difference %
Total Crime Index 5310 4810 -500 -9.4%
ECSO 4175 3854 -321 -7.7%
PPD 1066 930 -136 -12.8%
UWF 43 16 -27 -62.8%
FHP – Pensacola 7 5 -2 -28.6%
PSC 19 5 -14 -73.7%

Unfortunately, Escambia had the most murders for Jan.-June report in the past 20 years – 16.  The closest year was 2017 with 12 murders.

2020 16
2019 11
2018 8
2017 12
2016 9
2015 8
2014 7
2013 10
2012 9
2011 3
2010 10
2009 6
2008 10
2007 8
2006 2
2005 6
2004 11
2003 8
2002 3
2001 3
2000 8

The county’s overall crime index dropped primarily because of the decrease in burglaries and larceny.

2019 2020 Difference %
Murder 11 16 5 45.5%
Rape 91 94 3 3.3%
Robbery 159 180 21 13.2%
Agg. Assault 625 552 -73 -11.7%
Burglary 912 767 -145 -15.9%
Larceny 3222 2848 -374 -11.6%
Auto Theft 290 353 63 21.7%
5310 4810 -500 -9.4%

1 thought on “Overall crime down, murders set a new record

  1. Although WEAR TV 3 used the term “crime index” during the first part of its recent crime rate report, the correct term is “index crime” as in “total index crime rate.” The word “index” is important because the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program only documents seven types of felonies. I believe that there are 33 categories of felonies in Florida. As such, it is a very partial snapshot of crime. Local law enforcement agencies know the total number of felonies in each category but that data is kept a big secret. The Pensacola City Council could demand a full accounting of all crime in the city but has not. Since 2016, the public has not been allowed to see a monthly city crime report given to the City Council, Councilman P.C. Wu successfully insisting that access be cut off saying that allowing the public to hear the report was “like taking dirty laundry and hanging it up.” Only Councilwoman Sherri Myers objected saying that the public had a right to hear the reports. Further, the UCR system counts those seven types of crimes in a very odd way. With the exception of arson that is always counted, because Congress that funds the program wants to see the total number of reported arson crimes, when multiple crimes are committed, only the “highest ranked” crime is counted. As example, when five crimes are committed, the UCR system records one crime. Further, the “per capita” crime rate is subject to manipulation. As example, the Pensacola Police Department’s per capita UCR crime rate for 2019 is based on a city population of 55,226. In 2019, the city’s per capita UCR crime rate was +56.2% above the state rate, up from +54% in 2018. The 2019 city rate is 3.7 times the Santa Rosa County rate. If the 2019 city rate were to be recalculated using a lower and more accurate population number, the gap would be even greater. In 2019, the overall Escambia County per capita crime rate was +34% above the state rate, made worse because it includes the City of Pensacola crime numbers. The rate for the Escambia County Sheriff, that patrols most but not all of the county to include Century but not Pensacola, was +27% above. [A portion of county property taxes paid by Pensacola property owners is used to fund the Sheriff’s Office but the Sheriff does not conduct its road patrols inside the city limit. This issue was the subject of a 1984 lawsuit where the city unsuccessfully sued the county over using county taxes to fund a service not provided to city residents.] Because of all the caveats noted above, the key number we should be focused on but Channel 3 and the PNJ never report is whether a community is above or below the state average. In Escambia County we are way above; in Santa Rosa County they are way below. As example, in 2019, the Santa Rosa County crime rate was less than half the state rate. When Sheriff McNesby was in office, his eight annual crime rates were all below the state rate. During Sheriff Morgan’s years in office, all of his crime rates have been well above the state average. Why? The only change was a new Sheriff so his actions and inactions do seem the key variable. I suspect that the 2021 county crime rate will drop down closer to the Florida rate as Sheriff Simmons implements the policy changes he discussed during the campaign. He probably needs more funding for more Deputies on patrol duty for a surge to overwhelm the bad guys and especially the many convicted felons running around with handguns. With respect to the Jan-Jun 2020 crime data just released, the overall Escambia County “total index crime rate” did go down by 9.4%. However, the Florida rate went down by an even larger 11.7%, a point not mentioned here. In practical terms, this difference – 9.4% versus 11.7% – likely means (subject to FDLE full analysis of 2020 data) that the 2020 Escambia County crime rate gap will be bigger than the 2019 +34%. Worse, the Pew Research Center reports that most violent and property “UCR” crimes are not reported and most of those reported are not solved.

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