Murders surged across Florida in the first half of the year, but nowhere as much as in Orlando, says the Orlando Sentinel. The city’s murder total more than tripled from January through June, compared with the first six months of 2005. Other violent crimes spiked as well. Orlando posted the third-biggest jump in rapes and robberies among the state’s 10 largest cities and had the largest increase in arsons.
Boston and St. Louis, for example, have watched their murder rates rise, but other cities have seen declines, such as Pittsburgh, Albuquerque, and Oklahoma City. Three factors are behind Orlando’s crime surge: a population boom, deep-rooted social problems, and an influx of gang members from other cities, said U.S. Marshal Tom Hurlburt. Violence, he said, must be countered by targeting suspects with outstanding warrants because most violent crime “is committed by people already wanted. You can’t blame any part of the country or any part of the world. We run the gambit here.” Two members of Congress said the federal government must reinvest in the neglected Community Oriented Policing Services program that provides funding to add police officers. “This is crucial,” Rep. Corrine Brown, a Democrat, said of funding for the program. “Community policing works.” Rep. Ric Keller, a Republican, said the crime increase “causes me great concern for the safety of people in Orlando and the potential negative impact on tourism.”