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More Violent Crime But Lower Crime Rate in 2015 Gives Fodder to All Sheriff’s Candidates

| June 8, 2016

bunnell arrest rate crime report flagler 2015

The murder of John Stubbs in Bunnell outside his house in November was one of two this year in Flagler County. Bunnell again had the highest arrest rate in the county, with the chance of arrest for Bunnell residents at nearly 1 in 10. (© FlaglerLive)

For the first time in five years, total crime increased in Flagler County in 2015, by 1.7 percent, driven largely by increases in violent crimes, although the crime rate decreased modestly, by 0.7 percent, as population increased.

The trend contrasts with Florida’s, where overall crime fell by 10,773, a 1.6 percent decrease. The state’s crime rate also fell, by 3.1 percent, bringing the state’s crime rate down to a 45-year low even though, as in Flagler, violent crime was up–and more significantly so in the state as a whole: murders were up 5.7 percent, rapes up 6.1 percent and aggravated assaults up 3.9 percent.

In Flagler, there were more murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, burglaries and vehicle thefts in 2015 than in 2014, and fewer larcenies and robberies. Almost a third of the county’s crimes–617 last year–are related to domestic violence. The number was smaller than in 2015, when the county registered 635 such crimes, but still higher than the average since 2008.

Flagler’s numbers are conflicting, enough to be fodder for the campaigns of the numerous candidates running for sheriff as well as by incumbent Sheriff Jim Manfre.

Challengers can claim that crime is rising, even though the rise in context is still minimal, while the total number of crimes remains significantly lower than the peak of 2006 to 2011, when the county experienced an average of 2,500 crimes a year, or nearly 20 percent more crime than it does now, even though the population was a bit smaller.

flagler county crime rate

Flagler County’s crime rate since 2000, by sheriff’s administration. Each year’s number represents the rate per 100,000 population. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Still, year-over-year, total sex offenses increased from 26 to 41, including a near-doubling in rapes from 14 to 23, aggravated assaults increased from 204 to 231, and burglaries from 330 to 375.

Manfre can also paint a more favorable picture by pointing to the falling crime rate as opposed to the crime index, even though the fall in the rate is driven by a combination of the increase in the population by about 2,000 people, and by a 5 percent drop in larcenies (despite incessant reports of car break-ins throughout the year), though crimes that worry people most have increased.

“This is the lowest crime rate we have had in 16 years, going back as far as 2000,” Manfre was quoted as saying in the release. “This is impressive when you consider we had almost half the population we have today.”

The sheriff’s release on the crime report also highlights crime numbers only in Palm Coast and unincorporated Flagler County, where the sheriff has jurisdiction, which also helps keep a slight damper on the net number of crimes, especially when Bunnell’s numbers are excluded. In Bunnell, astoundingly, the arrest rate was close to 1 in 10 people in 2015. There were 282 arrests in a population of 2875, with arrests disproportionately targeting blacks.

Flagler Beach, in contrast, saw a 26.8 percent decrease in crime and the lowest arrest rate in the county.

Flagler County had experienced no murders in 2014. It experienced two in 2015, in quick succession: that of John Pehota, allegedly by his wife Anna, in the Hammock, on Sept. 23. She goes on trial next month. And that of John Stubbs of Bunnell, on Nov. 27, outside his house. Stubbs’s murder remains unsolved.

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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11 Responses for “More Violent Crime But Lower Crime Rate in 2015 Gives Fodder to All Sheriff’s Candidates”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yet more stolen cars than ever….

  2. DaveT says:

    Not real good numbers considering the worst numbers are; , Rape – UP, Aggravated Assault – UP. Maybe a change in the law on how our Judicial system handles these cases. What would be interesting is how many of these crimes are repeat offenders ?

  3. We need a newas Sheriff in town!! says:

    So we should feel safer knowing most crimes are no longer minor??? Pat yourself on the back when we are safe and can again sleep with our windows and doors open! Flagler County has turned into gang and drug central. Build, and they will come….and they did!

  4. Corporalrelease says:

    Flagler live. I am a corporal at the FCSO. I would like you to know that Sheriff Manfre ordered us to begin to alter crime stats last year. If a burglary or car break appears to be unsolvable we were ordered to change the title to a “civil” call. This has led to artificially reduced crime stats under Manfre. I know you can not list specific command staff names in here but believe me this is happening. To bad everyone is to afraid to talk.

  5. Right says:

    @ Corporalrelease,

    What a foolish post. Even if true, and if you really are a Corporal, you certainly do not deserve the rank for the mere fact that knowing the current climate in the agency, you would post something like this and most likely cause an issue for every Corporal. Purposely done it seems and if it causes trouble for a single one of them I hope they subpoena FL for your IP address.

  6. Anonymous says:

    True story Corporalrelease👍🏿 Hope FL follows up on that

  7. palm Tree says:

    I applaud Corporalrelease for coming forward and sharing that the sheriff is having deputies create false reports reporting crimes as a “civil” crime instead of what is really is..a burglary. This creates false stats for this sheriff making it look like he has crime under control when we don’t have a drug unit at all and he does not have a clue on how to handle crime. This is why your vote will be so important in the next election. Palm Coast is growing and so is crime. We need a Sheriff that is serious about fighting crime, not one the just changes the statistics on deputies reports to make it look like we have less crime in our community. This does not keep us safe!

  8. Maiden says:

    Isn’t that an abuse of power?
    I’m not surprised at all.
    What most people don’t realize is how crimes in your neighborhood are rarely reported therefore the only way you hear about a burglary in your neighborhood is from neighbors. Happen to anyone else out there? Happened in our neighborhood a few times. We were like WHY didn’t we hear about this? WHy aren’t the cops asking us questions? 4 home burglaries in 3 weeks and never in the papers or on Flagler Live. In a 2 block radius. Why weren’t they warning us door to door?
    WTH is that about ? Why elect someone who keeps the public in the dark about crimes committed in their own backyard?
    Manfre needs to go.
    Gangs are now running RAMPANT in Palm Coast. Do they report that? NO. Run an article on how many gangs are in PC. Please.

    Even the officers want Flemming back. Why aren’t they speaking up? They’re afraid of Manfre.
    I grew up in Little Ferry. A suburban town in NJ about 20 mins from NYC. Flemming was the Chief of Police.
    No violent crime. No petty crimes. EVERYONE supported and respected Flemming.
    ps I’m NOT a Republican. This is about keeping our County safe.
    If not Flemming, then someone else, just NOT Manfre.

  9. palm Tree says:

    We need more whistleblowers like “Corporalrelease” to come forward and let us know how our sheriff’s office is running and changing stats in his favor to look like he has reduced crime when actually this sheriff has gotten rid of our drug task force in Flagler County. So where does crime begin – with drugs. With no drug task force in place we as citizens don’t stand a chance in eliminating drugs in our schools and communities and on our street. When my house was robbed and I called the cops I was told they do not take burglary reports. You cant even get reimbursement from your insurance company without a police report. I argued with the Sgt. and he finally came out with a deputy that made me feel like I was inconveniencing him. This deputy showed so much lack of enthusiasm to make a report for me. This sheriff sickens me. Many deputies are supporting electing John Lamb as our new Sheriff. My dog could do a better job than our current sheriff.

  10. They lie says:

    That’s bullcrap the sheriff running for office has nothing to do with the crime rate all they do is take advantage of this time of year to arrest a bunch of extra people make themselves look good

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