Report: Violent crime up in Florida, Tampa Bay fares better

Posted at 5:20 PM, Nov 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 18:23:18-05

New numbers released from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show some violent crimes are up in Florida, but the Tampa Bay area seems to be faring better.

Authorities believe we've seen a decline in our community for three reasons.

"It is great news for a home owner obviously," said Todd Bodnar, who's home was recently burglarized.

"I am just so relieved that my wife was not home," said Bodnar.

According to the FDLE report, burglaries are among the highest crimes in Florida.  But, in the Tampa Bay area they are way down.

From January to June, Hillsborough had 494 fewer cases compared to the same time period last last year.

Pinellas had 415 less.

Murders are down, too.

Hillsborough reported six fewer murders, and Pinellas one.

Steve Hegarty with Tampa police largely credits agencies working together.

"We are working together will our partners and it looks it's having an effect," said Hegarty.

The burglary numbers did not surprise him.

Just a few months ago Tampa and and Pinellas agencies formed a task force targeting thieves.

"It was very effective," said Hegarty.

Hegarty also points advances in technology.

Bodnar's door camera clearly captured images of his burglars.

Police quickly uploaded the video and detectives caught the culprits shortly afterward.

"I think more people are more adept with social media. So, maybe they are just more comfortable on the the different ways they can contact us," said Hegarty.

A third strategy paying off is community policing -- a priority for chiefs on both sides of the Bay.

"When you get to know the community you are more plugged in and you know when things are going awry and you can prevent things," said Hegarty.

"If you see something, say something and we'll do something," said Hegarty.

Bodnar knows first hand the police methods have worked.

"You are supposed to feel secure at home and the fact the crime rate is down is great," said Bodnar.

Here is a county-by-county break down of the FDLE report.

Here is a look at broader numbers.