While property and violent crimes have increased in many parts of the country in the past few years, particularly in Democratic-run cities, the same cannot be said for the Sunshine State.
According to the Tampa Free Press, crime in Florida has dropped to a 50-year low under the leadership and policies of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — and he is already working toward reducing crime even further.
Total crime rates down
In November 2022, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued its Annual Uniform Crime Report for 2021, the latest year for which statistics were available, that provided a summary of total and categorical crime in the state based on reports and statistics submitted by local law enforcement agencies across the state.
The FDLE announced that total crime had fallen by 8.3 percent in 2021 in comparison to 2020, or about 38,524 fewer reported crimes, to reach a 50-year low since the department first began to track crime statistics in 1971.
That announcement specifically highlighted that both property crimes and violent crimes were down, as were crimes of domestic violence.
The Free Press noted that the numbers revealed a 14.2 percent decline in murders, a 17.5 percent drop in robberies, a 15.1 percent reduction in burglaries, and a 1.6 percent decrease in aggravated assaults.
“Florida will remain the law and order state”
Gov. DeSantis is justifiably proud of that achievement but announced in a Jan. 26 press release that he was committed to reducing crime even further in the state of Florida with a new proposal for various legislative actions.
“Other states endanger their citizens by making it easier to put criminals back on the street. Here in Florida, we will continue to support and enact policies to protect our communities and keep Floridians safe,” the governor said in a statement. “Florida will remain the law and order state.”
According to the announcement from DeSantis, his legislative proposal “pushes back against the abolishment of cash bail, increases penalties for drug-related crimes, steps up human smuggling interdictions, strengthens the punishment for child rapists, prevents the early release of sex criminals, and makes it more feasible to administer ultimate justice to those facing the death penalty.”
As for his already existing policies that have contributed to the reduction in overall crime, the press release pointed to the anti-rioting legislation, strong efforts to support law enforcement and recruit new officers from around the country, and a statewide crackdown on drug traffickers and opioid dealers, among other things.
The new proposals from DeSantis
One such proposal is reforming the state’s death penalty statute to reduce the requirement of a unanimous jury decision down to a supermajority of a jury to recommend a death sentence, and relatedly, another proposal would seek to make convicted child rapists eligible for the death penalty or at least a sentence of life in prison.
DeSantis also wants to increase penalties for drug trafficking, especially for fentanyl and particularly for that and other illicit substances designed to resemble candy or that target children, with mandatory life sentences and $1 million fines.
He is also calling for a limitation on who can be released from custody before a bond hearing, setting a uniform bond schedule for all courts in the state, and prohibiting pre-trial release for those charged with violent crimes.
Additionally, the governor called for making more sex offenders ineligible for early release, strengthening requirements for law enforcement to report missing persons, and providing more funding for a special strike force targeting human and drug smuggling operations.