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Crime in Flagler and Palm Coast Continued Decline in 2016, But Violence Is Up Again

| December 6, 2016

jim manfre rick scott crime rates florida

Though in eclipse, the four years of Jim Manfre’s administration as sheriff saw successive declines in the incidence of crime in Flagler. Manfre was seen above during a visit by Gov. Rick Scott last month at the Emergency Operations Center in Bunnell. (© FlaglerLive)

It won’t help Sheriff Jim Manfre, whose term is ending in three weeks, but if the mid-year crime report is an indication, Manfre will have lowered the county’s crime rate–including Palm Coast’s–for each of the four years he was in office, and to two-decade lows.

In 2015, the crime rate fell slightly, even though the crime index, which calculates the total number of crimes reported, rose 1.7 percent. The rate fell because compared to the population, there were still fewer crimes overall.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement just released its mid-year crime report, which tallies crime in the first six months of 2016. In Flagler County, the overall crime index fell 1.5 percent. FDLE does not provide a crime rate at midyear, but since the rate is based on population, and Flagler’s population has been increasing steadily, the rate is almost certainly lower as well.

Flagler’s incidence of crimes is substantially lower than in St. Johns, Volusia and Putnam counties, which make up the rest of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, though the population of Volusia and St. Johns counties is also substantially higher than Flagler’s. Putnam County has some 25,000 fewer people, but it has historically tended to be a more crime-ridden county than Flagler.

There’s a caveat, however: violent crime was on the rise in 2016 in Flagler, with increases in murders (there were two in 2015), rapes, and aggravated assault. Violent crime again was on the rise again in the first six months of the year. There were no murders, but there were increases in rapes, robberies and aggravated assault, compared to the same period last year.

The declines were recorded especially in burglaries, which fell by nearly 50, to 144, thus skewing the overall crime figures downward. Larcenies declined by two, to 635. Car thefts increased from 36 to 49.

The total number of arrests also declined in the first six months, from 1,485 to 1,350. That’s a considerable decline of 9 percent, coinciding with the opening of the new Flagler County jail, which had been built on the premise–among others– that the old jail was overcrowded. The fear that the new jail’s tripling of bed space would lead to a spike in incarcerations, in other words, has not yet been justified.

“Flagler County continues to be a safe community to live, raise a family, visit and own a business,” Manfre said in a release. “However, we must not forget that a few crimes can increase our crime rate. One crime is too many and by working together, we can keep our community safe and secure for all. One way of helping is to remember the phrase ‘See something, Say something,’ and to immediately report all suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.”

Looking at the data by city and jurisdiction, the sheriff’s office, whose jurisdiction extends throughout Palm Coast, carried out 78 percent of the 1,350 arrests in the first six months of the year. Flagler Beach, which has about 5 percent of the county’s population, carried out 4 percent of the arrests. And Bunnell, which has only 3 percent of the county’s population, carried out 8 percent of all arrests. The rest were carried out by other agencies, such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (20 arrests), the Florida Highway Patrol (two arrests) and the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, which made five arrests.

Countywide, there were 154 arrests for simple assault, 247 drug arrests (a significant increase over the 215 arrests recorded in the first six months of 2016), and 11 arrests for intimidation or bullying, almost double the six recorded in the first six months last year. There were also 99 drunk driving arrests, down six from last year, 14 arrests for weapons violations, up three from last year, and four liquor law violations.

There was not a single arrest for prostitution.

Arrests are different from offenses reported to police: the number of offenses is always greater than the number of arrests, particularly when the clearance rate for reported crime is about a quarter of reported crimes. That’s true in Flagler as it is in other counties.

Florida’s crime numbers fell, too, in the first six months of the year, though the number of murders increased significantly–from 487 to 561, a 15 percent increase–because of the Orlando Massacre at the Pulse nightclub on June 16.

The crimes of robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and larceny were all down in this report while rape and motor vehicle theft increased.

Law enforcement officers made 380,515 arrests from January through June 2016. Statewide, four law enforcement officers have been killed in 2016, three in motor vehicle crashes and one who was struck by a vehicle while on-duty. One correctional officer died after collapsing during a training exercise.

Overall, domestic violence fell 4.6 percent. Cohabitants continue to be the largest group of victims of domestic violence related offenses.

“Florida’s steadily decreasing crime rate is a true testament to the hard work and commitment of our brave law enforcement officers,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a release prepared by FDLE. “As the crime rate continues to decrease, it is clear that our shared goal of creating safe neighborhoods is working. 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.”

Flagler County Crime and Crime Rates, 2000-2018

Year (Sheriff)Pop.*Total Crime IndexIndex % Change
from Previous Year
Vehicle TheftCrime
% Cleared
2018 (Staly) 107,5711,662-20.2329121972031,145731,54532.6
2017 (Staly)105,2172,082-1.0523322042871,4251061,97824.9
2016 (Manfre)103,1552,102+1.4%0 20322063341,4051052,03722.9
2015 (Manfre)101,4132,072+1.7223262313751,3241092,060.925.3
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 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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4 Responses for “Crime in Flagler and Palm Coast Continued Decline in 2016, But Violence Is Up Again”

  1. DaveT says:

    “” Crime in Flagler and Palm Coast Continued Decline in 2016, But Violence Is Up Again ”

    violence is a crime

  2. Sw says:

    Dont believe it

  3. Neal Scott says:

    The decrease in the number of burglaries can be partially attributed to the ever-increasing use of security systems. This has been a nationwide trend for many years.

  4. YankeeExPat says:

    Dave T is Correct..

    Violence is a crime, ……but as any statistician can attest, you can only be murdered once!

    To quote a former office manager I had worked for ……………. “I told Ya, the Numbers Always Work”

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