Reporter

Crime continues to fall across Florida and Osceola County, according to the 2018 Florida Department of Law Enforcement Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report.  The report shows the state’s crime volume down 8 percent, or 24,564 fewer reported index crimes, compared to the first six months of 2017. 

Locally, Osceola saw similar decreases county-wide in all major offenses, including murder, rape, motor vehicle theft and robbery.

Roughly 300 more arrests were made in Osceola County at the beginning of 2018 than the same time last year, for a total of 5,981 arrests.

More people were arrested for aggravated assault, larceny and motor vehicle theft, but fewer were booked for burglary and robbery charges.

There was also a 10.6 percent increase in drug-related arrests in Osceola County, while prostitution-related arrests saw a sharp decline, from 14 in 2017 to four a year later.  

Eight murders were committed in the county from January to June this year – one less than a year prior - including six outside city limits and two in Kissimmee.

Still, the Kissimmee Police Department saw the greatest decrease in overall offenses (a 18.4 percent drop), giving it the lowest crime index of all three Osceola County law enforcement agencies.

It’s something KPD Public Information Officer Bailey Myers attributes to the department’s continued investment in neighborhood watch groups and what’s known as the Problem Oriented Policing Unit.  

“It really focuses on building up the community,” Myers said. “Crime is down because the community has really come together and worked with our law enforcement to prevent crime in their own areas.”

The Semi-Annual UCR calculates crime volume, or the number of index crimes known to law enforcement, as well as number of arrests made. FDLE's UCR provides standardized reports on crime statistics based on data gathered from across the state semi-annually and annually.

FDLE began tracking crime stats in 1971.

Statewide, both violent and property crimes were down in this report.  The index crimes of robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft were down while murder and rape increased slightly.  Domestic violence crimes were also lower in this report.

The number of murders in Florida was up 2.6 percent, from 531 to 545. But the 2018 figure, as noted in the report, also includes the 17 people killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February.

Homicide by firearm continued to outpace any other form of murder weapon in Florida, with 76.9 percent of all homicide-related deaths caused by firearms.

The only other major crime to increase statewide was rape, up 3.8 percent.

Across Florida, 51,433 domestic violence offenses were committed, including 90 murders and about 49,000 cases of both simple and aggravated assault.

In 2018, 27,682 stolen vehicles were recovered by law enforcement agencies statewide.

Finally, across Florida, 58 more people were arrested for murder in 2018 than 2017.  More people were also charged with rape and motor vehicle theft.

The report, including county-by-county breakdowns, can be found on the FDLE’s website.