The number of serious crimes reported in Weston, Fla., nearly doubled in the first six months of this year. In the Pompano Beach area, reported crime was up by more than half. It was up by nearly that much in North Lauderdale. The new figures don’t point to a major crime wave in Broward County, Fl., says the Miami Herald. They indicate that the county has dramatically changed the way it handles crime reporting, in response to charges that it had been deliberately been under-reporting crimes. While reported crimes were up, the percentage of cases cleared — or solved — plummeted. For instance, the Broward sheriff’s office claimed to have cleared 30 percent of serious crimes in Weston for the first six months of this year, down from 62 percent for the same period last year.
In the past, the sheriff’s office had touted its crime-fighting statistics when it sold its services to Broward cities, urging mayors and commissioners to do away with their police departments and sign multimillion-dollar contracts with the sheriff instead. The Herald documented dozens of cases in which residents have called to report a crime, only to have deputies record the incident as a lesser crime or no crime at all. The sheriff’s Professional Standards Review Board has recommended firing one detective and suspending 19 others.