Crime & Courts
Crime stats down in Hillsborough, Florida
TAMPA - The crime rate in the Tampa area is dropping, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, reflecting a statewide trend. There were 53 murders in Hillsborough County in 2012 compared to 60 the year before, according to the FDLE, which released its annual uniform crime report Thursday. The crime rates for robberies, aggravated assaults and burglary in Hillsborough were also lower in 2012 than 2011. But sex offenses have gone up, with 512 reported incidents in 2012 compared to 442 cases the year before. Overall, the FDLE report shows the state’s crime rate dropped 6.5 percent in the last year. The number of crimes fell 5.7 percent in 2012, which translates to 43,536 fewer crimes, the FDLE said.Gov. Rick Scott called the report “great news.’’ “Having a low crime rate is important to my goal of creating jobs and opportunities for Florida families,” Scott said in a prepared statement. Scott’s office said the FDLE’s report showed that Florida residents are “safer today than any time in the last 42 years.” The state law enforcement agency began tracking crime statistics in 1971. Attorney General Pam Bondi praised law enforcement for helping lower crime rates, but acknowledged there is still work to do. “I am hopeful we will see across-the-board declines, specifically in the number of reported domestic violence homicides and sex-related crimes,” Bondi said. Violent crimes statewide dropped 4.3 percent, the FDLE report said, but homicide is up 2.4 percent across Florida and sex offenses increased 2.7 percent. In Hillsborough, there were 10 domestic violence homicide cases in 2012, the same number as in 2011. There were 84 domestic violence sex crimes in Hillsborough last year compared to 60 the year before.