Friday, February 10, 2012

Collier Crime Up Slightly In 2011

Sheriff Rambosk: Proactive Crime-Fighting, Community Participation More Important Than Ever

The year-end Collier County crime numbers show a 4.8 percent increase over 2010. While this is down slightly from the 2011 mid-year report of a 5.9 percent increase, Sheriff Kevin Rambosk is encouraging more proactive anti-crime efforts and stimulating more community involvement to grow partnerships to maintain a safe Collier County.

There were 6,206 Part 1 crimes reported in 2011. That number is up by 282, or 4.8 percent, from the 5,924 crimes reported in 2010. The statistics represent the categories of homicide, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.

The numbers, which the Collier County Sheriff’s Office has submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, represent crimes in unincorporated Collier County and Everglades City.

“No increase in crime is acceptable to me or to our community,” Sheriff Rambosk said. “There are three elements at the root of all crime: ability, desire and opportunity. We can’t control ability and desire, but we can control opportunity.”

Since the release of the mid-year numbers, CCSO has launched a new proactive crime-fighting initiative called Data-Driven Approach to Crime and Traffic Safety, or DDACTS. DDACTS integrates location-based crime and traffic crash data to determine the most effective methods for deploying resources. The agency has also increased awareness efforts to help members of the community understand the critical role they play in keeping Collier County safe.

Sheriff Rambosk said the community’s focus on securing or removing valuables from their automobiles has significantly reduced the opportunity for crime and that is reflected in the 11.1 percent decrease in larcenies from motor vehicles in 2011.

“I want our residents to know that they have done a great job in helping to keep their vehicles secure and I am now asking them to apply those same security measures to their homes and businesses to help eliminate the opportunity for criminals to strike.”

Those measures include locking doors and windows and activating alarm systems if they are available and joining or forming a Neighborhood Watch group or Community Safety Team.

Sheriff Rambosk said factors such as increased prescription drug abuse, the ongoing negative economy and crimes of opportunity affected the 2011 crime numbers. The community also followed the national crime trend of increased thefts of lawn equipment, catalytic converters and copper.

The increase in burglaries can be attributed in part to the fact that long-vacant homes are now seeing new owners.

“We as a community have been dealing with the ramifications of vacant homes for several years now,” Sheriff Rambosk said. “As these homes are now beginning to change hands, people are discovering that at some point in time a burglary has occurred.”

The overall number of violent crimes in unincorporated Collier County and Everglades City decreased by 2.1 percent in 2011 when compared to 2010.

Homicides dropped by the greatest percentage, showing a 10 percent reduction from 10 in 2010 to nine in 2011. Aggravated assaults decreased from 662 to 628, for a 5.1 percent drop. Two categories of violent crimes went up. Sexual assaults increased from 110 in 2010 to 111 in 2011, and robberies went up from 195 to 208.

Here are some of the ways citizens can help deputies drive crime down:
* Lock your car and keep valuables out of view
* Call 239.252.0700 to schedule a home or business security survey by a CCSO Crime Prevention specialist
* Report unusual activity to law enforcement
* Start or join a Neighborhood Watch program
* Mentor a child
* Be alert and aware of your surroundings
* Join one of CCSO’s Community Safety Teams to help address code enforcement and other problems at the neighborhood level
* Protect personal information like your Social Security number, computer passwords and banking information.
* When online, don’t chat with strangers or respond to their e-mails

Click here to see the Part 1 crime numbers.