Tampa Bay Times Debunks Claim of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Crime Drop


The Tampa Bay Times is debunking a claim by an author of Florida’s “stand your ground” legislation that the law is responsible for a “dramatic” drop in violent crime. Rep. Dennis Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, defended the law in an interview last week with MSNBC’s Tamron Hall. Hall asked Baxley about crime statistics that show justifiable homicides are up in Florida, but Baxley said that’s one statistic. “What we’ve learned is, if we empower people to stop bad things from happening, they will,” Baxley said. “And in fact, that statistic is coupled with another statistic. That is the fact that we’ve had a dramatic drop in violent crime since this law has been in effect.”

The Times looked into crime statistics and news reports. It said, “We found that violent crime has dropped significantly in Florida since 2005. (The law went into effect Oct. 1, 2005.) We calculated the drop in violent crime rates, to account for population growth. In 2006 and 2007, violent crime rates were up just slightly up compared with 2005. In 2008, the violent crime rate began declining. By 2011, the violent crime rate had dropped 14 percent since 2005. But that’s not the whole story. We also looked at crime rates for the five years before the ‘stand your ground’ law started, and we found violent crime was declining during those years as well. Between 2000 and 2005, violent crime dropped 12 percent.”

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