St. Pete homicide rate up 140% this year, but most other serious crimes down

Local News

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Year-over-year data shows violent crime in St. Petersburg is down, but homicides have gone up from 2020 to 2021, at least as far as August. A report from the St. Petersburg Police Department showed that homicides were up 140% compared to 2020.

In the past week, there were two homicides in St. Petersburg, but while the homicide rate in the city is up compared to last year, nearly all other types of crime in the Part I report are all down, some more significantly than others. Part I crimes are defined as “serious crimes” according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The report from SPPD was updated through August 2021 and showed 24 homicides had occurred from January to August this year. Compared to last year, the total number of homicides was 15 in all of 2020, and 10 through August of the year before.

Despite the rise in the number of homicides, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny have all dropped, some as much as 21%. The only other type of crime in the Uniform Crime Report to have increased in frequency was auto thefts, which rose 0.9% YTD.

Type of Crime2020/Aug. 20202021 to Date (August)Percent Change
Homicide15/1024+140%
Forcible Sex181/1271270%
Robbery275/188148-21.3%
Aggravated Assault1,372/1,200861-1.6%
Burglary887/633567-10.4%
Larceny5,315/3,6603,305-9.7%
Auto Theft639/448452+0.9%
(Source: St. Petersburg Police Department UCR Monthly Report)

With the exception of February 2021, this year has had two or three homicides per month since January. In February there were seven.

The UCR report available only covers data through August 2021, but news releases from the SPPD still report the other homicides that have been reported by the law enforcement agency for September, and October so far.

In September 2021, there were three homicides. One was described as a double shooting on Sept. 17 on Granville Court. The other was a shooting from an altercation on Central Avenue and MLK Jr. Street on Sept. 28.

It was the second deadly dispute in a week in St. Petersburg. The death of Gilbert Bush was the first homicide of October, according to the releases published by SPPD. A second homicide is being investigated from a pedestrian death in an Oct. 4 hit and run.

Focusing on the trend of violent crime published in SPPD’s UCR annual reports, 2021 is the first year since 2018 where homicides or murders rose over 20. In 2018, there were 21 homicides, and 20 each year in 2016 and 2017.

(Source: St. Petersburg Annual Uniform Crime Reports, 2000-2020)

Still, a look at crime trends over the past 20 years shows from 2000 to 2020, the Part I crime statistics in the SPPD UCR data goes in cycles of rising and falling every few years.

With 2021 still going, the complete data on crime trends in St. Petersburg isn’t available yet. There are 258,308 residents living in St. Petersburg, according to the 2020 Census.

While it is unclear what the final tally of crimes will be for all of 2021, it’s important to note that in a city the size of St. Petersburg, the number of homicides per capita is low, and the majority of serious crimes in the city are down.

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