Reporter

St. Cloud ranked ninth among Florida’s safest cities, according to a press release from the city’s public information office.

The press release cites a recently released report by the National Council for Home Safety and Security (NCHSS), which surveyed 134 Florida cities with a population of 10,000 or greater.

“Our dedicated staff is always committed to keeping our city safe,” said St. Cloud Police Chief Pete Gauntlett. “Considering our city’s growth, staffing levels and calls for service, this is truly outstanding work.”

The National Council for Home Safety and Security – the group that issued the report - is a national trade association of licensed alarm installers and contractors formed in 2006, whose stated goal is to further the industry through public knowledge about home safety and security.

According to the group’s site, it draws data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report – a standard for arrest and crime statistics. After eliminating cities with populations under 10,000, the study combined violent and property crimes and adjusted data based on the city’s population.

It also considered the size of a city’s police department as a variable in calculations by dividing the number of crimes by the number of police personnel. Cities with fewer crimes and fewer cops are seen as safer in this variable. Cities with more staff and the same amount of crimes are seen as less safe.

St. Cloud may have performed well on NCHSS’s report, but the city had more violent crimes than any other municipality in the top 16 and more property crimes than any other city in the top 12.

Also, according to the most recent data from the 2018 Semi-Annual Florida Uniform Crime Report, the crime index in St. Cloud jumped 9.3 percent from June 2017 to June 2018.

A total of 365 crimes were reported in that time, including nine rapes, 77 burglaries and 29 cases of aggravated assault. About 31 more offenses occurred during that time then the previous 12 months, according to the data.

In fact, out of Osceola County’s three law enforcement agencies, the St. Cloud Police Department was the only one that saw an increase in offenses from June 2017 to June 2018.

This recent increase in crime comes in contrast to sharp decline during the previous reporting period.

From June 2016 to June 2017, there was a 20.5 percent decline in St. Cloud’s total crime index over the previous 12 months, with 106 fewer offenses.

The takeaway? St. Cloud may be considered safer by the NCHSS when compared to other cities based on its population and the number of personnel at its police department.  

But when compared only to itself, the crime index in St. Cloud has increased by 31 offenses – or 9.3 percent – from June 2016 to June 2018.

UCR data is gathered monthly from law enforcement agencies across the state. The total crime index refers to offense reported to the police by the general public and crimes that police officers discover.