Florida officials said the state’s lowest crime rate in 30 years is attributable to a decade’s worth of tougher sentencing laws, more prison beds and the ending of early prison release programs. The Miami Herald quotes state law enforcement commissioner Tim Moore as declaring, “There’s been a 180-degree turn in how we provide public safety for our citizens.”
The crime rate per 100,000 people in Florida dropped 3.3 percent between 2001 and 2002. The number of crimes reported decreased 1.2 percent.
Yet the highest-profile crime–murder–increased 4.5 percent. Miami-Dade County reported a decrease in the crime rate of 3.7 percent, but there were 14 more murders in 2002 than in 2001. The Miami Police Department said part of the reason for the decline is help from the community “letting us know what’s happening and helping us come up with solutions.”