Law enforcement authorities in Florida announced late last year that crime in the state had dropped to a 50-year low, thanks in part to the leadership and policies of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
Gov. DeSantis does not appear inclined to rest on those laurels, however, as he has made additional “law and order” legislative proposals that would further reduce crime in the Sunshine State, the Tampa Free Press reported.
Florida crime drops to 50-year low
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a press release in Nov. 2022 to announce that crime rates in the state had fallen to a record 50-year low since the department first began tracking crime statistics in 1971.
Per the FDLE’s 2021 Annual Uniform Crime Report, the last year for which statistics were readily available, Florida’s total crime rate had fallen by 8.3 percent, or more than 38,500 fewer crimes, in comparison to 2020.
That included reductions in both violent crimes and non-violent property crimes, as well as in incidents of domestic violence.
The DeSantis proposal to further crack down on crime
That is great news for Floridians, but Gov. DeSantis made it clear in a Jan. 26 news release that he fully intended to drive the figures on crime down even further, with help from the state legislature.
The governor’s 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.”
Indeed, the proposed “anti-crime legislation” would increase penalties for dealers of fentanyl and other controlled substances, particularly when those drugs are marketed toward children, and would devote an additional $20 million toward in-state efforts to disrupt and prosecute illicit drug trafficking.
It would also limit who is eligible for immediate release prior to a bond hearing, would require a pre-trial detention hearing for those charged with “dangerous crimes,” and would request the establishment of a “uniform bond schedule” by the Florida Supreme Court for all state courts to adhere to in setting bail for arrestees.
The proposal would also reduce the current requirement of jury unanimity to a supermajority for death penalty recommendations, would mandate that child rapists face a minimum of life in prison without parole and be eligible for the death penalty, and render those serving time for sex crimes ineligible for “gain time” or early release.
Finally, it would also dedicate an additional $5 million to in-state efforts to combat and interdict drug and human trafficking rings and strengthen requirements for local law enforcement in the state to swiftly report missing persons to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
“Florida will remain the law and order state”
“Other states endanger their citizens by making it easier to put criminals back on the street. Here in Florida, we will to continue to support and enact policies to protect our communities and keep Floridians safe,” Gov. DeSantis said in a statement about his proposal. “Florida will remain the law and order state.”
He was joined by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R), who said, “While some states are adopting soft-on-crime policies that increase lawlessness and decrease public safety, in Florida, we strive to strengthen our laws, keep violent criminals behind bars, and take proactive steps to keep our communities safe.”
FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass said, “Governor Ron DeSantis knows the importance of keeping families safe and because of that, his commitment to law enforcement is unprecedented,” and added, “We are thankful to live in Florida. So many of our law enforcement colleagues across the country just don’t have the support of leaders like Governor DeSantis.”