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Crime Rate Falls to Historic Low in Flagler, Mirroring State and National Trend

| May 20, 2015

crime rate flagler county florida 2014

The Flagler County Sheriff’s honor guard at a memorial for fallen officers earlier this month, on the grounds of the county courthouse. (© FlaglerLive)

Flagler County’s crime rate in 2014 fell to its lowest level on record, in line with Florida’s crime rate, which fell to the lowest level since the Florida Department of Law Enforcement began tracking such numbers in 1971. The falling crime rate is a reflection of a national trend as well, with the crime rate in 2013, the last year for which national numbers are available, about half where it was in 1991. The national violent crime rate was at its lowest since 1970.


In Flagler, crime fell in every category but larcenies. There were no recorded murders, fewer rapes, robberies, burglaries and vehicle thefts. Aggravated assaults remained flat, at 204 (two fewer than the previous year) and larcenies increased slightly to 1,399. Larcenies include car break-ins such as a rash of those break-ins last week, all of which targeting cars that had been left unlocked (as is the case with the overwhelming majority of all car break-ins.)

The overall crime rate in Flagler has never been high: it has never crossed the 3,000-per-100,000 threshold, for example, though it came close to that mark in 2007, at the height of the housing boom. It has rather fluctuated in the 2,500 range. But in the last five years, the rate has fallen each year, and was down to 2,073 in 2014. That’s significantly lower than the Florida crime rate of 3,451, and lower than that of St. Johns (2,130.2), Volusia (3,551), Putnam (3,538) and Orange (4,687.9).

“The things the Sheriff’s Office can affect and I’m most proud of is the burglary rate,” Sheriff Jim Manfre said today. “Because those are the things that traumatize the public the most, and the fact that the amount of burglaries are less than they were 15 years ago, that’s the success story in my mind, and that’s clearly from the increased patrolling in the streets and the clearance rate.”

The decline is a national trend, Manfre said, but “but I think in Flagler County we’re seeing an even greater reduction than nationally and statewide,” he said, crediting as well the Bunnell and Flagler Beach police departments.

Yet Flagler County’s rate is by no means among the lowest in the county: 22 of the state’s 67 counties have lower crime rates, most of those being small, rural counties, with Liberty County boasting a rate of just 623 and Lafayette at 805.


Bunnell continues to account for a hugely disproportionate number of arrests in the county.


Within Flagler, which had a population of just shy of 100,000 in 2014, there were 2,990 arrests in 2014, all but 187 of them adults. The Sheriff’s Office carried out the majority of those arrests, with 2,243. But again, in a recurringly stunning number, Bunnell, which has a population of 2,800, rec orded 479 arrests, with an arrest rate of 17,187 per 100,000 (compared to the county’s overall arrest rate of 2,441). There were 101 arrests in Flagler Beach.

Asked about Bunnell’s numbers, Manfre said: “It’s the only area in our community that has a concentrated area of low, socio-economic conditions, and that leads to an increase in crime, it’s something that we as a nation and state and county have to put more resources in to break that cycle. We have to address it, we have to find tools.” He added: “We do have a risk of social unrest in my opinion.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released the statewide and county-by-county numbers today. The total number of crimes fell 3.6 percent from last year, it indicated in a news release, which translates into 25,476 fewer crimes than in 2013. Overall the number of violent crimes dropped 0.7 percent while nonviolent crime fell 4.1 percent. Murder and sex offenses were up slightly while robbery and burglary fell.

Juvenile arrests have also fallen significantly, by almost 5 percent (to 23,884 statewide).

The number of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty increased in 2014 to six. Four officers died after being shot and two were killed by vehicles. Domestic violence offenses were down 1 percent from 2013. Domestic violence murders were up 24 deaths last year while domestic violence manslaughter was down five deaths.

“The results of the 2014 Annual Crime Report are testimony to the dedication and hard work of deputy sheriffs and law enforcement officers across the state,” Florida Sheriffs Association President and St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar said in the release. “This report also demonstrates the effectiveness of sending deserving criminals to prison, keeping them away from law-abiding citizens.”

Flagler County Crime and Crime Rates, 2000-2015

Year (Sheriff)Pop.Total Crime IndexIndex % Change
from Previous Year
Mur-
der
RapeRob-
bery
Aggra-
vated
Asslt
Bur-
glary
Lar-
ceny
Vehicle TheftCrime
Rate
per
100,000
% Cleared
2015 (Manfre)101,413*2,0901.7%223262313751,3241092,060.925.3%
2014 (Manfre)99,1212,055-6.2014322043301,399762073.230.3
2013 (Manfre)97,4832,190-0.5322572064761,343832238.327.7
2012 (Fleming)97,2202,200-7.418382104361,433742,262.929.3
2011 (Fleming)96,2412,376-4.2119372545051,485752,468.829.3
2010 (Fleming)94,9842,480-4.2016361775561,5911042,611.024.2
2009 (Fleming)94,9772,588+5.3322482235921,5901102,724.926.1
2008 (Fleming)95,5882,458-9.8014562035401,5101352,571.522.9
2007 (Fleming)93,6442,724+18.6418542126091,6601672,908.921.6
2006 (Fleming)89,1512,296+15.7412371805021,3911702,575.421.2
2005 (Fleming)78,6931,984+21.8112452433951,1531352,521.226.5
2004 (Manfre)69,7591,629+5.1012191673479821022,335.230.2
2003 (Manfre)61,6171,550+14.22829169353906832,515.526.1
2002 (Manfre)56,8611,357-2.221319165365722712,386.535.4
2001 (Manfre)53,1371,388-0.411927130348786772,612.127.7
2000 (McCarthy)49,9081,394+18.941222112363806752,793.126.8
Source: Unified Crime Report, FBI and FDLE
Note: The crime figures listed in the table represent the incidence of reported of crime in the entire county, including Bunnell and Flagler Beach, not just crime reported to or by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office. Note, too, that reported crime is always lower than actual crime levels, as all crimes are not reported.
(*)The population figure is based on the total provided by FDLE, which differs from that of the U.S. Census Bureau. The latter places the county's total population at 105,392.

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15 Responses for “Crime Rate Falls to Historic Low in Flagler, Mirroring State and National Trend”

  1. Charles "Bub" Robson says:

    Congrats to all the Law Enforcement agencies in the county for making Flagler County livable.

  2. m&m says:

    You gott be kidding. Whouts out the stats, the sheriff??

  3. a tiny manatee says:

    Change how you report things and guess what? Your crime rate drops.

  4. I/M/O says:

    I/M/O Sheriff Manfre men and women are doing an excellent job. Unlike other areas I have live in where you never saw a police unit you see Sheriff’s Manfre’s units constantly on patrol at all hours in various locations.

    Especially in the Business Districts. To go shopping and observe a marked unit in the area gives one a sense of security.

    I have also been told his SRO’s at our schools are doing a very good job.

    From wjat I see Sheriff Manfre has his personnel on top of things to prevent crime and not simply respnd to past crimes.

    As a person who believes in pro active policing as oppoed to after the fact policing I have to give Sheriff Manfree an A+.

    Also reading some of the very dangerous incidents his men and women have handled it appears Sheriff Manfre has his personnel well trained.

    Flagler Deputies I thank you. You are doing an excellent job. We pray you stay safe and go home to your families after every tour. God be with you all at all times.

  5. Betty says:

    What a CROCK ! This place is so full of crime, it makes Baltimore look like the Vatican . No Manfree I won’t be voting for you EVER. When are you “blue boys” going to something about the worthless drivers who COMMIT vehicular crimes 1,000 times a day in this county. DO SOMETHING beside sitting in you air conditioned taxpayer squad cars burning up gas…paid for by the taxpayer…your salary paid by the taxpayer…your military assault weapons and armored vehicles…given to you from our worthless government, PAID by the taxpayer………News articles typed to make a “thorn bush” pretty because you can see some roses doesn’t work with the educated citizen.

  6. Footballen says:

    I would love to extend a heart felt thank you to the families of all those who serve whether your loved one is still serving, retired or fallen in the line of duty. Our nation owes you a debt of gratitude, and I for one sincerely apologize for the ignorant statements made above. While there is obvious unrest and terrible morale here in and across the nation due to what one may equate to a misrepresentation of facts or mistakes made by a very few, i truly believe the vast majority supports your tireless efforts to uphold our laws and respond as best you can. I met the wife and mother of four children the other day. She lives here now and has one son graduating from FPC this year. It still brings a tear to my eyes when I recall the story of her husband who served 22 years with a Sheriff’s Office in Georgia. He was shot and killed while on duty and responding to a domestic violence call in March of this year. He left behind a wife and four children who are now proud citizen’s of Palm Coast. I cannot even imagine how she pulls through this so well, probably simply because she has to, the same way her husband responded to that call.

  7. ItsTheFactsJack says:

    I would like to see their stats report and what categories/breakdown of crimes are being reported. Because since I moved here 4 years ago from up north, did I rarely hear of 16 cars being vandalized, stolen vehicles, broken car windows and other nonviolent crimes. Yes, there was crime but not to this extend. Maybe those aren’t part of the report. Hopefully, they’ll post their numbers/report on their website.

  8. Ray Thorne says:

    https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/content/getdoc/902a8aa3-3570-4abe-b88b-4f60e855d46e/Flagler.aspx

    What’s hidden in the Flagler numbers? from 2013 to 2014, Aggravated assault is up 23.8% simple assault is up 22.4%. 20 assaults with a firearm in 2013 rose to 30 assaults with a firearm in 2014. Robbery with a firearm also rose to 11 in 2014 from 10 in 2013. Thefts from motor vehicles rose from 406 in 2013 to 437 in 2014. Theft from a building rose from 14 in 2013 to 38 in 2014. Theft from a vehicle and theft from a building would also constitute burglary. Im not sure if burglary stats pertaining to these thefts were configured into the overall numbers. Promoting the idea that crime is down for political advantage is all it is when in fact the crimes that really affect our community on a daily basis are up.

  9. Buddy Negron says:

    Interesting to note that both Fleming and Manfre saw double digit crime growth during their times in office and the largest drop, not following an increase, took place most recently while Staly was Undersheriff. Isn’t it time we have professional law enforcement that will ensure the crime rate drops every year, regardless of trends and national averages? It’s time Flagler county have a professional life-long, proven, successful, Florida law enforcement administrator as Sheriff, not as the number two guy? We need someone both the deputies and citizens can trust, has their interests at heart, and creates the types of cohesive relationships and lead to partnerships within the community where bad guys don’t have a chance, figure it out quickly, and take their nonsense and criminal activity elsewhere? I do believe Staly is that guy!

    • Possibly says:

      Your politically motivated speech about Staly is recognized as simply that Buddy Negron. Looking back at all your past posts it is obvious that you are blindly infatuated with the man. Have you ever actually worked for him? I have and I can tell you that he is not someone I would ever want to work for again. I’m sure you will attack me for saying this because you have a track record of being unprofessional but since your a cheerleader for Staly that doesn’t even surprise me one bit,

    • Ray Thorne says:

      To be fair, let’s remember the pooulation nearly doubled while Fleming was Sheriff.

  10. biker says:

    It wouldn’t be the first time that LE commanders have been caught doctoring reports. The decrease in burglaries is especially suspicious. There is a fine line between burglary of a conveyance and a simple larceny from a vehicle. In addition the terminology “suspicious incident” when used in categorizing a police report have also been found in the past to skew crime stats. I am curious how many suspicious incidents reports have been filed and what the increase or decrease might be. I would think that a significant increase in suspicious incident reports in light of this incredible reduction in certain index crimes would be viewed as red flag by FDLE.

  11. Nancy N says:

    Actual crime numbers and perception of crime can be two different things.

    Crime is reported as a RATE, a ratio, not a numerical count for the purpose of determining if it went up or down. As the city’s population increases, the COUNT of crimes in the city will go up even if the crime RATE stays the same. 3,000 per 100,000 means that at 50,000 population, the city has 1500 crimes – but at 100,000 population it has 3.000. Thus, increasing population can lead to residents perceiving that the crime rate must be increasing if you happen to hear about – via the news or your extended network – reports of more crimes. It’s perception, not reality. There’s more crimes, but more people, so the statistical rate is the same.

    The other factor that can skew perception is that the age of social media brings reports to us that we would not have heard a decade ago. Via Facebook and numerous other online sources like media, online Sheriff’s reports, and other tools, we learn about a much higher percentage of what goes on in our community (and much more detail about what goes on) than we used to. We used to live in blissful ignorance that a friend of a friend of a friend had a wallet stolen from their car at a certain location..now it’s blasted all over Facebook as a “public service” to everyone to be careful. This stuff always happened, but hearing about more of it now than we used to can make it feel like the world is less safe, like the crime rate must be increasing.

    It shouldn’t be too surprising to see the crime rate going down in Flagler – it’s part of a national trend in decreased crime. It’s not like the Sheriff reported decreased statistics while everyone else went up. There’s nothing out of line in this report with national trends. So perhaps we need to examine whether the problem is not the statistics, but our perception of them.

    • Ray Thorne says:

      There was no population change between 2013 and 2014 to make any kind of difference you’re suggesting.Further, please click the link I provided so you can see that indeed there is a “numerical count”

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