Reported crime in Orange County, Fl., tumbled by double digits last year, the largest decrease in Central Florida, says the Orlando Sentinel. “We have accomplished this by focusing our efforts on community policing initiatives that reduce the prevalence of street drugs by arresting repeat offenders and by taking over 1,000 firearms off the streets,” said Sheriff Jerry Demings. Statewide, overall crime decreased by 6.6 percent, reaching a 40-year low and prompting Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey to declare public safety a “Florida priority.”
University of Central Florida sociology department chair Jay Corzine is not surprised by the local decrease. He said husband-and-wife pair Jerry Demings and Orlando Police Chief Val Demings have been “proactive” leaders of the two largest law-enforcement agencies in Orange County. “They work to take illegal guns and drugs off the street,” Corzine said. Crime has steadily decreased since it peaked in 1988, when Florida was in the midst of a crack-cocaine epidemic and violence soared.