The number of murders in unincorporated Orange County and Orlando plummeted by roughly 38 percent last year – a striking change after more than three record-breaking years of deadly violence, says the Orlando Sentinel. Experts and police credit crime-fighting strategies and federal initiatives launched during the past few years to combat the mid-decade surge in crime. “I think it has to do with law enforcement doing a good job,” said Jay Corzine, a homicide expert at the University of Central Florida.
As the recession dragged on through 2009, leaders feared that the Orlando area would endure another year of high crime. Authorities worried the unemployed might turn to drug sales or other violence-prone activity to support themselves. Orlando Police Chief Val Demings credits part of the drop to “messaging.” Police are sending criminals a message through public statements, increased visibility, aggressive enforcement and investigative efforts, and outreach to community groups. “If you commit a homicide, you’re not going to get away with it,” Demings said.