Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations
CRIME RATE IN VSO JURISDICTION CONTINUES TO FALL
The numbers are in, and the crime rate in the Volusia Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, already at a record low, continued to fall over the first six months of 2019. At the same time, the agency’s high clearance rate for cases climbed even higher – all signs of progress Sheriff Mike Chitwood attributed to consistent, proactive police work and follow-up by the agency’s sworn and civilian support staff.
Over the first half of 2019, the number of crimes reported in VSO jurisdiction dropped 19.7 percent compared to the same period in 2018, according to data assembled for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Uniform Crime Reporting system. Over that same timeframe, the overall VSO case clearance rate went up 17.9 percent.
“What these numbers tell me is that hard work pays off,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “When we’re proactive, when we recognize and get after crime trends early, and when we constantly look for innovative techniques, tools and technology to solve problems, this is the payoff. We can never sit back and think our work is done, but I couldn’t be prouder of the incredible work our people have done to make these huge strides in fighting crime in our community.”
Crimes reported to VSO so far in 2019 are down almost across the board compared to the first six months of 2018. Violent offenses are down 6 percent (from 248 to 233), with the only increase appearing in aggravated assaults (up 5.8 percent, from 154 to 163). Property crimes dropped 22.2 percent, with the most significant impact happening in burglaries, which dropped 30.5 percent, from 295 to 205.
The data did show an uptick in domestic violence-related cases, up 13.4 percent (from 694 to 787), mainly attributable to a 14 percent increase in the most common type of domestic incident, simple assault.
In the category of property crimes, the total value of stolen property decreased from about $3.4 million in the first 6 months of 2018 to $2.9 million in the same period this year, with $1.3 million of that recovered.
The new figures continued what has been a sustained downward trend in the crime rate, which was already down 7.9 percent in VSO jurisdiction in 2018 compared to 2017.
WHAT’S NEW? In addition to the new accountability- and data-based CompStat program Sheriff Chitwood implemented at VSO in 2017, the Sheriff’s Office has increased its cooperation with other agencies, added personnel and resources in areas needing attention and made new technology a priority. The Volusia County Crime Center has become the central hub for crime intelligence, information-sharing and analysis, with VSO detectives and analysts (recently augmented by personnel from Daytona Beach PD) working to research and solve cases and increase law enforcement officer safety.
An increase in the number of license plate readers in Volusia and surrounding counties, combined with the popularity and improving quality of consumer security cameras, has significantly increased the amount of intelligence and other data available to solve crimes that may have been unsolvable in the past. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to pursue the latest tools to take full advantage of these advancements in technology.
SPEAKING OF CRIME, we do have two active cases where we could use the public’s help. Here are two items posted on our Facebook and Twitter feeds today: