Crime falls in U.S., Florida
By MITCH TRAPHAGEN
RUSKIN - According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics released on Monday, all categories of crime declined in 2009, contrary to fears held by some that crime would increase due to the recession. Crime in Florida and Hillsborough County also declined.
The report stated that overall crime declined 5.3 percent in 2009 nationally, the third straight year of overall declines. Property crimes declined for the seventh straight year. Murder decreased by 7.3 percent and robbery decreased by 8 percent. The South, with 37 percent of the population, led the nation with nearly 44 percent of all crime, giving it a slightly higher rate overall but most southern states and cities saw marked declines from the previous year.
In 2009, law enforcement agencies nationwide made 13.7 million arrests, not including traffic violations, of which nearly 600,000 were for violent crimes.
In Florida, despite a population increase in 2009, crime in all categories decreased, led by a 21 percent decline in motor vehicle theft. Violent crime as a broad category decreased by 10.1 percent.
In Hillsborough County violent crime declined significantly. There were 34 murders in 2009, compared with 46 in 2008. In the same time frame, motor vehicle theft dropped from 2,464 to 1,981. Rape, robbery, assault, property crimes, larceny and arson all declined sharply.
Nationally, while burglary overall has declined, residential burglary increased slightly in 2009. Lesser offensives such as shoplifting and theft from motor vehicles (not including motor vehicle accessories) also increased, continuing a string of increases for the past three years. In Hillsborough County, burglary was the only crime category showing a slight increase.
For all of 2009, $13.3 billion in property was stolen across the United States, of which $3.1 billion was recovered by law enforcement. Cash, jewelry and electronics such as televisions and stereos topped the list of stolen items and were also among the least likely to be recovered. Nearly 57 percent of all stolen motor vehicles nationwide were recovered.