When he was running for re-election a month ago, Mayor Buddy Dyer said crime in Orlando was falling. New state statistics show Orlando’s crime rate actually went up in 2011, and Orlando continues to hold the dubious distinction of having the highest crime rate among Florida’s 10 biggest cities, says the Orlando Sentinel. Police Chief Paul Rooney contends that Orlando is much safer than the statistics indicate.
“I have no doubt that you can go anywhere in Orlando — and I can’t say that about a lot of other cities — and not have to worry, unless you’re involved in drugs or prostitution or up to no good,” he says. “Over the course of the last four years, we hit really close to all-time lows, so it’s not unexpected that it might tick back up a little bit,” Dyer said. “If you look over two years or over four years, crime is down.” Still, Orlando’s crime rate continues to lead Florida’s most-populous cities, including Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Jacksonville, and even Miami, which has a bad reputation for crime. Orlando officials say the numbers don’t tell the full story. The crime rate is calculated as the number of crimes reported per 100,000 residents. Dyer said that’s not fair to a city that hosts millions of out-of-town visitors a year.