FDLE: Violent crime down 4.4% in St. Johns County

Sheriff's Office says overall crime down 8%

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Even though St. Johns County is one of the fastest-growing areas in north Florida, it's seeing a slowdown in one area -- crime.

New numbers released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show crime is down all over the state, but the sheriff in St. Johns County said the Sheriff's Office's own numbers show an even bigger drop in crime.

Sheriff David Shoar said that could be because of a number of factors, including trying to guess or figure out where crimes occur.

MORE ONLINE: County-by-county crime stats January-June 2013

Not everyone is so sure of the crime statistics. Cynthia Artis said she doesn't need to guess where crime is going to occur, she just has to look outside her door.

"I would not put my children over there in those projects," she said. "There's too much stuff that's happening around here."

But the Sheriff's Office said crime appears to have dropped nearly 8 percent in the last six months. That entails crime overall, including nonviolent crimes like public drunkenness or petty theft.

Other statistics show that violent crimes such as murder and aggravated assault are also down about 4.4 percent.

"Eight-percent reduction is a great, great deal," Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan said. "Again, we don't take credit for that across the board, but we do feel that some of the things that we put into place in the last year has been helpful.

The Sheriff's Office said deputies are working better and are using intelligence-led policing, which involves trying to have detectives figure out where the next crimes will occur.

"It's a collaborative collective effort from a lot of different individuals in a lot of different strategies that we help have brought this number down," Mulligan said. "These numbers are sometimes cyclical. The economy could change tomorrow."

It also depends on what part of the county someone is in as to how people feel about these stats.

Timothy Dutton said he feel safe "due to the sheriff, all of what he does for the community."

Marlin Baker, however, said, "Crime in this area hasn't gotten to the point where it's an everyday battle where you got people shooting and everything. But it's still not safe out here."

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