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Updated: 03/09/2012 05:21:36PM

Crime rate drops 9.1 percent

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Polk crime rate is at a historic low.

Polk County’s crime rate in the unincorporated areas and contract cities dropped from 2010 to 2011, according to the Uniform Crime Report statistics.

The crime rate, which is the number of crimes per 100 residents, is down 9.1 percent from 2010 which was 2.97 to 2011 which was 2.70.

This is the lowest crime rate ever measured in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, it reports, breaking the all-time record low of 2.97 crimes per 100 from last year. Reliable crime statistics in Polk County started in 1971, when the crime rate was recorded at 4.16 crimes per 100, public information officer Donna Wood said. Since 1997, the crime rate in Polk County has fallen by 59.5 percent,
according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“There are two critically important reasons why crime remains low. The first reason is that we Floridians got serious about holding criminals accountable for their crimes in the 1990s. The second reason for lower crime rates is effective policing strategies,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

One of those strategies is the Proactive Community Attack on Problems program Polk started in 1997. PROCAP’s philosophy is emphasizing proactive strategies, focusing on problems, and working hand in hand with the community. The Polk/PCSO crime rate is more than one third less,
34.1 percent, than the most recently published Florida state crime rate, 2.70 compared to 4.10. The Polk/PCSO violent crime rate is 40.7 percent lower than the state violent crime rate, 0.32 compared to 0.54.

According to the Uniform Crime Report statistics, as reported semi-annually and annually to the FDLE, there were 617 fewer crimes in 2011 than in 2010 in the Sheriff’s
Office primary jurisdiction. There were 11,378 crimes in 2010 as compared to 10,761 crimes in 2011. Violent crime is down 1.53 percent in Polk’s unincorporated area and Sheriff’s Office contract cities. There were a total of 1,308 violent crimes in 2010 and 1,288 in 2011, a reduction of 20 crimes.

“Polk County is a ‘family friendly’ place to live, work, and visit,” Judd said. “We at the Polk County Sheriff’s office pledge to continue to work hard to keep our neighbors, friends, families, and visitors safe.”

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