Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Crime Still on Decline

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Crime Still on Decline

Article excerpt

Reports of serious crimes other than rape declined in

Jacksonville in 1995 for a third straight year, reflecting a

nationwide drop for most serious crimes.

Police and crime experts say there are a variety of reasons for

the declining crime, including tougher sentencing and the use of

community policing in many big cities.

There was a 7.1 percent drop in reports of serious crime in

Jacksonville, led by a 19 percent decline in murders and a 14.1

percent drop in auto theft, according to statistics obtained by

the Times-Union yesterday.

Sheriff Nat Glover said he is concerned about the 3.4 percent

increase in rape after a 7.1 percent decline in 1994 from 1993.

Lt. Dan Principe, who commands the sex crimes unit, said it's

unclear whether there are more rapes occurring or if more

reports are being filed by rape victims. He thinks women are

becoming more aware of victims' services programs and growing

less stigmatized for reporting the crime.

Glover said the number of reports should be studied and he

didn't rule out increasing the number of sex crime detectives if

that would help.

"There is a heightened awareness of abuse and crimes committed

toward women," Glover said. "While that might be figured in that

increase, we still need to pay attention to it and see how we

can reduce those stats."

Despite the continuing drop in crime in Jacksonville, on a

national scale, the 1 million-person area made

up of Duval, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties is one of the

most crime-ridden metropolitan areas in the nation.

According to the FBI, the Jacksonville metropolitan area in 1994

ranked ninth in the nation in overall crime, third in violent

crime, second in rape and fourth in burglary. The 1995

nationwide statistics are not available.

But Glover said that he was pleased with the overall decline in

crime in Jacksonville in 1995.

Glover said a crackdown on juvenile crime, including sentencing

more juveniles to jail and prison, has been helpful. He also

attributed community police programs such as stop stations --

neighborhood outposts for police to do their work and meet

citizens -- has helped deter crime. …

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