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Overall crime drops in Florida, including First Coast
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Overall crime drops in Florida, including First Coast

Overall crime drops in Florida, including First Coast
Photo Credit: Robert Alonso

Overall crime drops in Florida, including First Coast

Crime rates as a whole are going down across the Sunshine State, including for most First Coast counties.

That's the big takeaway from the latest Uniform Crime Report released this week by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

That report - which focuses on the first half of 2016 - shows Florida with an overall crime drop of 3.4% when compared to the first six months of 2015. That includes a 4.6% drop in domestic violence cases and a 15.2% rise in murders.

Those numbers are compiled from all law enforcement agencies which operate in the state.

Locally, Baker County led the way with a 9.4% drop in overall crime, followed by St. Johns (6.9%), Clay (4.7%) and Duval (3.5%). Nassau's crime rate rose by 12.7%, which is among the higher increases in the state.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says the overall drop is a "true testament" to the work being done by law enforcement agencies across the state.

"As the crime rate continues to decrease, it is clear that our shared goal of creating safe neighborhoods is working," Scott added. "While this is great news, there is still work to be done and we must continue to focus on reducing crime and making Florida the safest place to raise a family.”

74 more murders were recorded statewide for the first half of this year compared to the year before. That does factor in the 49 who were killed during the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando over the summer.

Murder numbers also rose by six in Duval, three in St. Johns and one in Clay, with Nassau and Baker staying flat.

Other than rapes (69) and motor vehicle thefts (848), every other category in the UCR has seen drops statewide, including robbery (573), aggravated assault (1,040), larceny (4,891) and burglary (5,542).

Duval also saw an increase in rapes (22) and motor vehicle thefts (379), as did Clay (4 and 5). Nassau reported eight rapes over the first six months of the year compared to just one in the first half of 2015.

Other than robberies (88), Duval had drops in every other category in the UCR. That includes aggravated assault (135), burglary (394) and larceny (672).

Clay also reported drops in robbery (2), burglary (2) and larceny (132), but did see a jump in aggravated assault (25) along with the slight rise in murder and rape.

In St. Johns, there were declines in rape (2) and motor vehicle thefts (9), but every other category saw an increase, including robbery (10), aggravated assault (22), burglary (36) and larceny (70) along with murder.

A large part of Nassau's crime rate jump is due to increases in aggravated assault (50) and burglary (98) along with robbery (2) and rapes (7). Murders stayed flat at two and there were drops in larceny (76) and motor vehicle thefts (7).

Like in the first half of 2015, Baker reported no murders or rapes for the same time period in 2016. Drops were reported for robbery (1), burglary (17) and larceny (22), while increases were noted for aggravated assault (15) and motor vehicle thefts (2).

The state's clearance rate - which measures the number of cases solved by law enforcement versus those which aren't - is at 25.7% for the first half of the year. It was at 25.8% for the first six months of 2015.

Of all First Coast counties, Duval had the lowest clearance rate at 18.8% for the first half of this year, a drop of 1.8% compared to the same period last year.

St. Johns was the only other local county to be below 20% in clearance rate, coming in at 19.5%. That's a 4.7% drop.

Clay leads the way locally in clearance rate at 41.5%, but it's still a 2.7% drop compared to the first six months of 2015.

Baker came in at 40.7% - a 4.4% drop - while Nassau's clearance rate of 29% is 3.8% under what it was previously.

Four law enforcement officers have died so far in 2016, including three in motor vehicle crashes and a Nassau County deputy who was run over and killed while trying to catch a man on the run from federal agents. A correctional officer also died after collapsing during training.

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