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South florida sees decline in violent crimes

Posted on May 27, 2010 3:00 AM EST

A recent FBI report indicated that several South Florida counties saw declines in violent crimes in 2009. The violent crimes that were analyzed by the FBI included homicides, murders, sexual battery, rape, aggravated assault and battery, and robbery. Violent crimes involving these types of cases declined in both Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Individual cities such as Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah, Hollywood and Miami all saw declines, as well. The same cities and counties saw decreases in property crimes like auto theft, burglary and grand theft. While violent crimes and some property crimes have declined, Miami criminal defense lawyers have seen increases in other types offense such as mortgage and Medicare fraud.

In Fort Lauderdale, violent crimes dropped 9% from 1,628 in 2008 to 1,481 in 2009. Murders and homicides dropped from 22 in 2008 to 13 in 2009. Sexual battery and rape cases declined from 73 to 56, while robbery cases declined from 848 to 685. In Miami, violent crimes decreased by 12.7% seeing 5,709 violent crimes in 2008 and 4,983 in 2009. Cases involving murders, robberies and aggravated assault saw declines across the board. Miami officials claimed the decreases were due to a great effort by the police along with the assistance from the community. The Miami Police Department is focusing on keeping their officers on the streets to effectuate a police presence that will hopefully continue to bring down the crime rate.

Another theory regarding the decreasing crime rate may have been the result of the implementation of enhanced sentencing for career criminal and crimes committed with firearms. Another reason for the reduction in violent crime in Miami could be the creation of the Repeat Offender Court (ROC). Career criminals face at least double the sentence that a non-career criminal would receive. There are various types of career criminal including habitual offenders, habitual violent offenders, violent career criminals (Gorts) and prison release re-offenders (PRRPs). For example, a person with no prior record and charged with strong arm robbery may be looking at probation. Because strong arm robbery is a second degree felony, a Gort or violent career criminal would be looking at 40 years with a 30 year minimum mandatory upon a conviction for the same offense.

Another reason violent crimes could be down is the threat of the 10/20/Life policy. Anyone committing a crime and using a firearm to commit the crime is subject to a 10 year minimum mandatory sentence. Anyone discharging a firearm during the commission of an offense is facing a 20 year minimum mandatory prison sentence. Any defendant convicted of a forcible felony and shoots another individual can be sentenced to life in prison. Other than being a deterrent anyone sentenced based on the enhancements will spend an extraordinarily long time in prison and will not be on the streets committing violent crimes.

FBI: Violent Crimes Drops in Broward and Miami-Dade, The Miami Herald, May 25, 2010.
Categories: Violent Crimes