LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) With the year coming to a close, 8 On Your Side investigates the crime hot spots in 2019. We’re crunching the crime statistics for jurisdictions across the Tampa Bay area but we begin in one city.
Eight locations generated 3,808 calls in Lakeland in 2019.
According to data provided by the Lakeland Police Department, those calls included 504 reports of trespassers, 272 shoplifters and 208 disturbances.
There were less reports of violent crimes in these spots.
For example, the data showed 47 reports of alleged assault and battery. There were 22 fights and three stabbings in the city’s crime hot spots in 2019.
“We look at this every two weeks,” said Assistant Chief of Police Sam Taylor.
Asst. Chief Taylor has been with Lakeland police for three decades.
“Our focus is shifting on a weekly, if not daily basis, with the lieutenants looking at the calls for service that come in.”
At the very top of the crime hot spots list was Lakeland Regional Health, one of the largest hospitals in the state.
There were 857 police reports filed at the hospital in 2019, according to Lakeland P.D.
8 On Your Side Investigates spoke with the Assistant Chief about the calls.
“Any event that occurs where they end up going to the hospital,” said Asst. Chief Taylor, “that will generate a crime report.”
Asst. Chief Taylor says many times the crimes reported at the hospital occurred outside the city limits.
The following establishments were also on the list:
- Walmart, 5800 Highway 98 N.
- Lakeland Square Mall, 3800 Highway 98 N.
- Walmart, 3501 Florida Avenue S.
- Circle K, 1410 Florida Avenue N.
- McDonald’s, 715 Memorial Boulevard E.
Asst. Chief Taylor said the high number of calls at those busy locations is not surprising.
“Those are typically your shoplifting calls,” said Asst. Chief Taylor, “they also could be traffic crashes that occur in the parking lot.”
Lakewood Terrace Apartments located at 1315 14th Street came in at number seven on the list with 324 calls in 2019.
Right now, we’re waiting for an exact breakdown of the crimes that occurred on the property.
Tracy Reid has lived at the complex for three years with her five grandchildren.
“It’s just terrible,” she said.
Reid says she often stays inside to avoid incidents.
“They be fighting about dumb stuff, he said she said,” said Reid.
“We need to clean the neighborhood up this year, this is the year to do that.”
A call for comment was not immediately returned by the complex.
8 On Your Side learned a lot of reports were also filed at Talbot House, a service provider for homeless men and women.
“Our homeless can become victims and quite often are victims,” said Asst. Chief Taylor.
“Talbot house facilitates the reporting.”
Lakeland Police Department is providing the remaining data to 8 On Your Side Investigates as fast as possible.
Meantime, Asst. Chief Taylor says overall, Lakeland has seen a drop in crime nearly every year.
“Good police work,” said Asst. Chief Taylor.