Crime rates fall 8% in Florida

- For the first six months of 2018, there were nearly 25,000 fewer crimes reported statewide, compared to the first half of 2017. 

That's a drop of 8 percent according to the FDLE's Semi-Annual Crime Report.

In Bay Area counties - Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Polk - there were decreases in total crime, from 2.9 percent to 17 percent.

"Our job is to figure out why the numbers are so low and how we got there so we can continue the trend,” said St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Halloway.

About 30 law enforcement agencies make up the Pinellas County-wide total, and St. Pete Police handled more than a third of the cases.

Between January and June, overall crime for the department plunged 29.6 percent.

"Every day we get a daily report of crime that happened in our city, so we know where to put our uniform officers, we know where to put our undercover officers," Halloway said.  "We’re more proactive than reactive, we look at all our hot spots, and once a week we look at our trends."

In Manatee County, crime was actually up 8.9 percent for the first half of the year.  A majority of the calls went to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

"What's important for us to point out is that violent crime is actually down,” said Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson, Randy Warren.  "We are lower than we were a year ago on things like murder, manslaughter, sex crimes are down."

Officials say what's spiking are crimes of opportunity like robberies and especially auto burglaries.  Deputies work to educate folks about not becoming a target and locking their vehicles.

"We put a lot of emphasis on our patrol, to be in these neighborhoods, to be able to drive around, to certainly sometimes catch someone in the act of doing things," Warren said.

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