By Cindy Jo Ayers
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s 2019 Uniform Crime Report has found Gilchrist County’s overall crime increased 19.2 percent from 2018. According to FDLE, motor vehicle theft, larceny and rape, aggravated assault have gone up. The report showed that murder and burglary, were down in 2019. Sheriff Schultz reported that GCSO has seen firsthand the increase in violent crime and the tragic results. While much of the increase in violence cannot be explained, likely a good portion of it can be attributed to the increase in Methamphetamine use. Sheriff Schultz said, “Methamphetamine is plaguing the Southeastern United States, and Gilchrist County has not been the exception.” Sheriff Schultz pledges to continue his commitment to fight the use and sale of illicit drugs to not only reduce overall crime, but most importantly to safeguard our children and families and continue to make Gilchrist County a Safe place to live, work, and raise a family.
The report stated that there were no murders in the county and rape rose from 4 cases in 2018 to 8 cases in 2019. Robbery stayed the same with 2 robbery cases each year. Motor vehicle theft saw an increase from 7 cases in 2018 to 25 cases in 2019. A motor vehicle includes anything with a tag, so in some cases it might be a utility trailer that was stolen.
Sheriff Schultz stated that he was concerned about the Domestic Violence offenses and the substantial increase in the juvenile arrest rate that GCSO reported as up 65.2%. This number combined with the overall increase in violent crime both locally, statewide and nationally, seem to indicate that offenders are starting criminal activity at a much younger age and the trouble inside our homes may be playing a role in the violent culture that is tragically becoming all too normal.
The clearance rate according to the FDLE report went from 32.3 to 31.2 per 100 offenses. The FDLE Crime Report was based on information reported by GCSO and City of Trenton Public Safety.
Some areas of law enforcement where techniques such as increased patrols, community outreach programs, and solid investigative skills do translate to statistical improvement are burglaries where GCSO was able to reduce the crime rate in the county by 5.9%, and an increase overall arrest rate of 2.43%, along with substantial increase in the recovery of stolen property as 489.3%. While these statistics are very positive in some areas, Sheriff Schultz has long said that statistics are simply a barometer and play a very small role in the assessment of success or failure in the delivery of law enforcement services.
Gilchrist Crime Rate is up 19.2% according to FDLE
By Cindy Jo Ayers