Assaults on Florida law enforcement officers at record lows, data shows, but violent crime rising

Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — New data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows that while assaults on law enforcement officers in the line of duty are at historic lows, the volume of violent crime is on the rise.

The annual statistics have been reported by Florida’s law enforcement agencies for 50 years now. The FDLE says crime rates are at all-time historic lows, since they began collecting the data.

A recent release from the FDLE shows that Florida’s total crime volume dropped by 14.1% from 2019 to 2020, as millions of Floridians stayed at home due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The drop in crime rate refers to fewer crimes being reported, as compared to the previous year.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was founded in 1969, as the state government entered a restructuring phase. In 1971, the department began publishing annual statistic reports, which became the Uniform Crime Report.

While the overall number of crimes reported has gone down, FDLE’s data shows that violent crime has increased across the state. Specifically, murder and aggravated assault have increased, though domestic violence did decrease in 2020, and rape crimes were also down across Florida.

The bulk of the crimes shown to be in decline, based on the reports, are property crimes such as theft, larceny, or motor vehicle theft.

Along similar lines to the overall crime rate getting lower, the number of assaults on law enforcement officers has also decreased over time, according to data going back to 1991 from FDLE.

Assaults on officers were at historic lows in 2020, with only 6,154 assaults on officers while they were in the line of duty. The highest year for officer injuries while in service was in 2000, when there were 9,280 assaults on men and women in uniform.

YearNumber of Assaults with No InjuryNumber of Assaults with InjuryTotal Assaults
19915,0413,8808,921
19924,0243,0567,080
19934,8083,3358,143
19944,9003,5098,409
19954,7143,0837,797
19965,1182,8717,989
19975,8263,1158,941
19985,9903,0779,067
19996,0222,8998,921
20006,2973,0139,280
20016,2772,9309,207
20026,2032,8069,009
20036,2242,7638,987
20046,3402,4308,770
20056,2472,2388,485
20066,3892,2948,692
20076,4492,0078,456
20086,1032,0058,108
20095,7091,7957,504
20105,2311,6876,918
20115,0011,5646,565
20125,2161,5816,797
20135,0451,6046,649
20144,9021,5606,462
20154,7981,5466,344
20164,6021,5106,112
20175,0581,5676,625
20185,0821,5726,654
20195,0391,5836,622
20204,7411,4136,154
(Source: FDLE)

While assaults on officers are lower, the annual report from FDLE shows violent crime in Florida is on the rise, going up 2.4% this past year. According to the agency, nearly 2,000 additional violent crimes occurred in 2020, compared to the 2019 total.

Data shows the number of crimes reported is down, as are the number of arrests.

Still, the number of crimes reported going down doesn’t necessarily mean that the state is safer. While property crimes decreasing means your wallets and homes are safer in a materialistic, physical sense, violence is rising.

Across multiple demographics, such as race, age, and sex, violent crime increased in the past year, as multiple nationwide events increased tensions across the country.

Violent Offender Type2019 Total2020 TotalPercent Change
Overall Violent Offense Arrests33,16533,577+1.2%
Adult29,91230,893+3.3%
Juvenile3,2532,684-17.5%
Male26,23026,639+1.6%
Female6,9356,9380%
(Source: FDLE)

The year Florida had the highest number of arrests, across all categories, was 2008, when there were 1,149,933 arrests reported by FDLE.

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