The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says violent crime in the state is up in the first six months of 2006 year, says the Miami Herald. Murders in Miami-Dade County are up 42 percent, and robberies rose 2 percent; the number of juvenile arrests is up 7 percent statewide. Experts say the figures may be too preliminary to signal a trend, but the data are similar to national figures reported in a recent survey.
In Fort Lauderdale, police attribute a 7 percent crime drop to filling vacancies in the police department, frequent analysis of crime trends, and the shuffling of a special unit that targets chronic crimes., Miami-Dade is saturating ”hot spot” areas with patrols, knocking on doors to request information about unsolved violent crimes, and working with faith-based groups to reach out to troubled youths. The department has scheduled a gun buyback and gun-lock giveaway next month. Psychologist Suzanne Keeley, president of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment in Miami, said changes in the family structure and lifestyles have long foreshadowed an increase in juvenile crime.