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Crime: Gainesville and Tallahassee are Headed in Different Directions

Posted on June 20, 2017

Crime: Gainesville and Tallahassee are Headed in Different Directions

Often times people dismiss crime statistic comparisons involving Leon county because Tallahassee is a major college town. The argument is that characteristics of a college town can sometimes skew comparisons because of the presence of so many college students.

In fact, recently Florida State University Criminology Professor, Brian Stults, told the Tallahassee Democrat that the presence of a significant number of college students in a community can result in crime rankings that are “very misleading, so we should be careful not to overreact.”

Understanding the rationale of this argument, TR decided to compare UCR crime statistics over the last eight years in Alachua County (pop.257,062), home of Gainesville and a major college, with the crime numbers in Leon County (pop. 287,671).

The findings raise interesting questions.

But first, a sobering statistic.

Over the last three years, Alachua County has reported 10 murders. During that same period, Leon county has reported 50 murders.

Now the analysis.

In 2009 Alachua County had a higher crime rate than Leon County. Alachua County reported 5,004 crimes per 100,000 people during 2009 while Leon County reported 4,671 crimes per 100,000 people.

As with Alachua County, Leon County’s crime numbers were driven by city incidents.

As the graph below shows, since 2009 Alachua County’s crime rate has decreased 39.7% from a rate of 5,004 to 3,582 in 2016.

During the same period, the Leon County crime rate increased 21% from 4,671 to 5,655.

CrimeA&L2

A deep dive into FDLE arrest statistics show that during this period Alachua County reported a higher arrest rate than Leon county.

From 2009 through 2012, Alachua County averaged an arrest rate of  7,600 per 100,000 people. Following this four year period, the crime rate fell from 5,004 to 3,739.

In contrast, from 2009 through 2012, Leon County’s arrest rate averaged 4,319 arrests per 100,000 people – approximately 40% less than Alachua County.

The crime rate in Leon County was relatively flat during this period. However, the arrest rate fell below 4,000 in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and the crime rate spiked to number one in the state of Florida for each year.

These findings should raise questions about the impact of students on the crime rate in Tallahassee. If the presence of a major university has a negative impact on crime stats, why does that impact not show up in Alachua County?

The findings should also raises questions about Tallahassee’s law enforcement strategy. With increasing crime, why are arrests down?

8 Responses to Crime: Gainesville and Tallahassee are Headed in Different Directions

  1. Jon Reply

    June 20, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Does it matter? Violent crime is crime, no matter why or how much.

  2. Phil Reply

    June 20, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    If you arrest more suspicious people, chances are you will derail some peoples plans for doing bad things. If they get arrested enough maybe they will move. Or maybe there is a correlation between crime and SAT scores?

  3. Willy Cosby Reply

    June 21, 2017 at 10:30 am

    37 yr resident of Tallahassee. I now carry a gun when I check my mail, just like an AK resident in fear of being mauled by a grizzly. If you watch the booking reports, you’ll see we arrest a lot of the same people over and over again. How are people being accused and convicted of violent crimes getting back out on the street so fast? Who is to blame for this part of the problem?

  4. David Reply

    June 22, 2017 at 1:57 am

    Who is to blame? DEMOCraps.

  5. Mike Reply

    June 22, 2017 at 8:45 am

    So we have this report and the arrest rate report about Leon County arrests declining 29% since 2012 – while during the same period crime has risen by 22%. All this after Tallahassee hired more patrol officers. As you said yourself, Steve, it “would seem logical that arrests would increase.”
    Obviously that’s not happening, so what is wrong?
    Well, my personal strong suspicion is that our uber-hard Leftist mayor has copied his idol obama’s tactic of ordering fewer arrests and/or jailing of blacks, period. Doesn’t matter whether they committed crimes or not, Mr. Gillum says do not arrest them or jail them – looks bad for me and my Leftist reputation among the higher-ups in the DNC. I need the black vote, and how can they vote for me when they’re in jail?

    Again, that’s my own personal opinion, based on Gillum’s history and hard-Leftist ideology – he is ruining this city and will most certainly ruin Florida if he ever is elected governor.

    Whatever the reason for the rising crime-fewer arrests trend, Tallahassee’s city government is at fault for not aggressively dealing with this crime problem as THE priority facing the city. If rising crime is not dealt with, people with the means will move elsewhere, parents will send their kids to a safer college than FSU, the city tax base will decline, and Tallahassee will become a little Detroit. We’re on the path right now to be a Little Chicago. Thanks, city government.

  6. News_Maven Reply

    June 22, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    BREAKING – BOMBSHELL at City Hall:
    http://floridapolitics.com/archives/240509-federal-authorities-launch-probe-city-tallahassee
    The local rag also has their version posted.

    Perhaps the arrest rate will be going up real soon?

  7. Mr. Curious Reply

    June 22, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Let’s take this into account….FSU student pop. 46,733, FAMU 12,002, TCC 18728, Tall.-Flagler 640, Tall.-ITT 675 total=78,778.

    UF student pop. 57,003, Santa Fe College 20,453, Gainesville City College 734 total= 78,190 (according to College Stats.org). Pretty close, but here is another stat for you….Top employers = Tallahassee 19,442=State of Florida Gainesville State of Florida= ot in top 10.

    What does that mean…think about the number of employees with the state in Tallahassee, now think about how many do not live in Leon County? Ok, now consider if a state employee that does not live hear is the victim of a crime and it’s reported, but they are not listed as a resident. Crime stats are skewed. Same with student populations. Question that may arise, how many students do not live on campus, but are cited as crime victims within the crime report? What does that mean….skewed stats on crime in a city when that person is part of the crime statistics but not part of the residential population of that location. Is anyone understanding the correlation??

  8. R B Reply

    June 22, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Mike of June 22 hit the nail on the head. I can only add that incarceration entail longer sentences, hard work details ,(no TV, weight rooms,social lounges ,conuptual visitations, etc., etc.,) , and when released , give them a one way bus ticket to anywhere outside of Leon County and the warning ” don”t let us arrest you again “. Let these criminals know that their citizenship is on the line. Three arrests and good bye amigo. If you due the crime , you are going to do the time
    And don”t give us this BS about having an abusive childhood that warped your personalty. A lot us have ,but we do not go around robbing or killing folks ! The liberal left has generated this preverse society of liberalisum and those of us that pay the bills have had enough—-get tuff and get tuff ASAP !!!!

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