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Law and Order

Fort Myers Police Department Touts Downward Trends in Crime Rates

The latest Uniform Crime Report data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows that overall crime in the City of Fort Myers is on a significant downward trend. 

For the first half of 2019 the total number of reported crimes in Fort Myers dropped by 16.2% compared to the first six months of 2018.  Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs touted the positive trend at a press conference Wednesday at the Department’s Tactical Operations Center.  Chief Diggs said the total violent crime rate fell by 28.7% percent in the first half of the year.

“Our murders are down by 2%, our aggravated assaults are down by 12.2%,” said Diggs.  “There has been less than half as many rapes and robberies reported in 2019 as there were in 2018 during the same time period from January to June.”

Larceny was the only crime category that saw a slight increase of 0.4% in the first half of the year, which represents an increase of just three cases.

Diggs said the department’s three-year crime trend is also positive.

“We made tremendous progress, and I do mean tremendous progress in the reduction of violent crime,” said Diggs.   “Total violent crime was down 20.6% between 2016 and 2017 and 22.6% between 2017 and 2018.”

However, the data shows a year-over-year increase of 10% in the number of murders between 2017 and 2018.  There was no change in the number of reported rapes during that same time period and rates of burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft also increased.

Chief Diggs attributes the lower crime rates, in part, to the implementation of new technologies.  “Initiatives such as our city-view camera system, our shot-spotter gunshot detection system, our real-time crime center which is co-located here in the Tactical Operation Center, combined with the use of data-driven crime prediction analytics has helped us get to this point.”

Diggs also attributes the positive crime trends to the department’s recruitment efforts and his ‘zero-tolerance’ policy on gun violence and gang violence.