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Florida's crime rate drops in first half of 2013

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida's crime rate dropped 5.2 percent during the first half of 2013, compared to the same period during the previous year, according to a report released Tuesday.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement data shows the crime rate also dropped in most northeast Florida counties, with rates in Alachua, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and Union counties dropping by an even larger percentage than the state average. (See chart at bottom of this article.)

Gov. Rick Scott touted the declines, which included a 10.6 percent drop in murders, a 9.6 percent drop in motor-vehicle thefts and a 9.5 percent drop in burglaries.

"Here's why it's so important, everybody that lives in our state, the 19.2 million people that live here, they want to live in a safe place,'' Scott said after a Cabinet meeting. "The people who want to come here as tourists, they come here because we have a safe state."

FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said the report was the first time an annual or semi-annual crime report showed a reduction in "every single category."

Other categories of crimes included in the report are forcible sex offenses, robberies, aggravated assaults and larcenies.

Crime in Northeast Florida counties, first six months of 2013:

Crimes Murder Rape Robbery Aggravated
Assault
Burglary

Change
2012 to 2013

Alachua County 4,459 5 48 95 544 772 -9.4
Baker County 231 0 0 0 36 61 50
Bradford County 263 1 4 4 53 63 105.5
Clay County 2,322 1 37 52 295 350 -9.2
Columbia County 1,334 2 7 19 193 377 2.1
Duval County 19,545 33 270 651 1,699 3,555 -6.0
Flagler County 1,070 3 11 31 94 229 -3.2
Nassau County 671 1 3 10 42 183 -6.2
Putnam County 1,493 1 16 17 193 373 -12.7
St. Johns County 2,363 2 8 28 220 443 -4.4
Union County 86 0 1 1 16 23 -14.9
Statewide 340,392 428 3,443 11,026 30,353 68,319 -5.2

Source: FDLE semi-annual county-by-county crime report