Sheriff Walt McNeil recently talked with Preston Scott, the host of The Morning Show and discussed the recent crime reports, clearance rates, and the implementation of crime reduction strategies.
Sheriff McNeil briefly mentioned the reopening of the sheriff’s office within the courthouse. The location had been closed since the start of COVID-19 and as of July 1, 2021, it has reopened.
On the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime report, the Sheriff explained that Leon County’s crime rate decreased by 20% during 2020 and said that “we are making progress.” Overall, Leon County’s crime has diminished by about 50% over the last five years.
The Sheriff was asked why he thought there has been a decrease in arrests over the last year, and in the first five months of 2021. The average arrests have recently averaged around 600 a month, down from 900 a month in the first five months in 2019.
McNeal asserted that the pandemic certainly played a role in the decreasing arrest rate. He also stated that the Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), Tallahassee Police Department (TPD), and the Florida Highway Patrol are working together and are all doing a great job dealing with cases. However, he expects there will be an uptick in crime during the summer months, especially burglary, as people begin to vacation and leave their homes.
The Sheriff also addressed the clearance rate statistics.
A clearance rate is the number of cases which are solved, the Sheriff continued to say that Leon County Sheriff’s Office is averaging 28% and the states average is around 25%. TPD’s clearance rate is around 19%, however they see more cases than LCSO.
The Sheriff further explained their goal is to solve at least 20%-30% of cases, which is often difficult as many of the cases are burglary with little to no evidence to go on.
The Sheriff commented on manpower to assist citizens and respond to calls, specifically discussing calls that are not an active crime.
He said they have enough staff for the call volume and that his deputies are good about responding to all of their calls. However, he is currently looking into “how much quality time the deputies have” in the field trying to resolve the calls they are responding to.
Sheriff McNeil spoke about the Worship With Me Program and what makes it a crime reduction strategy.
He contended, “one of the things we know, is a kid that does not have an anchor in their life, often finds themselves in the criminal justice system.” He explained that they are asking churches in our community to take two children that are identified by the LCSO, who may be at risk, and have them attend two services. He continued, “we have been doing the program for about a year and a half and we hope we have the success that we saw prior to COVID,” as the initiative is reignited.
Sheriff McNeal briefly commented on the 40th anniversary of the School Resource Deputy program. They are working with the Superintendent to keep the program alive. McNeal asserted the program has been a great asset to the community.
Finally, the Sheriff addressed the city’s initiative to revitalize the Frenchtown area.
He explained some years ago there were a few particular housing projects that LCSO and TPD spent some 70% of their resources responding to calls. He said, “it never made any sense to take all of the people who are poor and stack them on top of each other and think you’ll have good outcomes.” Eventually one of the buildings were torn down and since the redevelopment the number of calls to the area have drastically reduced. The Sheriff stressed, “we need to change the dynamic of the housing complexes and how they are configured.”
The Sheriff ended the interview discussing the opportunity they have to hopefully impact nearly 120 kids in the Frenchtown area by introducing Boy Scouts of America and other mentoring programs. He stated the cause is worthy and “it will take a human investment and time.”
I have my issues with the Sheriff, but not a lot overall. The problem is with the State’s Attorney slow-walking and not prosecuting.
So the odds of getting caught are only slightly better than one in four. And if you put a bunch of poor people in the same neighborhood you get lawlessness and mayhem?
Yo Sheriff, I’ve seen seen the architectural renderings of what they plan on building in Frenchtown and I can guarantee you the people that live in your two or three “problem housing projects” ain’t movin’ into those townhouses and “Lofts” in our lifetime.
Preston is a stooge, he just let that guy rattle on with a bunch of nonsense.
Criminals in Tallahassee don’t have a fear of retribution, its no more complicated than that.
They aren’t afraid of getting caught by Walt McNeil because the odds are he won’t. And its not because he can’t. He knows exactly who the bad guys are, and he knows exactly what will happen to him if he goes after them with hammer and tong like he should. He will get rolled under the bus by the gutless wonders that run this county and city so fast it will make his head spin.
So I guess I’ll stand a watch…
I am a big fan of law enforcement BUT I think one reason “crime” is down is that many cases are just ignored. Last month I was attacked. I was able to identify the attacker, had two witnesses, and pictures. This was reported to TPD. The officers called it battery. What has happened since? Absolutely nothing. The last I heard the case was referred to the state attorney. I assume he/she didn’t think it was worth dealing with.
“The Sheriff further explained their goal is to solve at least 20%-30% of cases, which is often difficult as many of the cases are burglary with little to no evidence to go on.”
I understand the challenges, but that seems an awfully low bar to set. When you state (publicly) that your “goal” is to solve at least 20-to-30% of your cases… then you might as well finish the sentence with, “… which means that 70-to-80% of you will get away with it, so have at it kids!”
And with due respect, Sheriff, the Boy Scouts are now a fiscally and morally bankrupt organization. I believe their new name is the “They” Scouts of Anti-America. I can see the campaign now… “Give up the thug life, and join the perverted one. Share a pup tent and get your NAMBLA Badge!”
Get with reality folks… More LEOs; Real Consequences… that’s the ticket.
Preston Scott has no credibility with reports regarding the sheriff give me a break!
He should be asking why the sheriff spends so much money and where the money comes from for all his PR stunts. The sheriff presently has an ad with Lisa Brown disguised as a public service. Announcement. Preston should be asking what benefits the sheriff’s office by giving funds to Sean Pittman? I don’t believe one word of this report and hopefully this young reporter won’t get sucked up in this nonsense and will do their own investigative reporting.
We have to work on preventing NEW Criminals from forming. By that, we start with 4th Grade thru 10th Grade Students. We do an Assembly in the Gymnasium for each Grade,
talking to them about Crime, what the ramifications can be, what the punishments can be, how to know when a Crime is being committed and what to do about it. Talk to them about respecting Law Enforcement. Talk to them about Peer pressure and Bullying and how to avoid it. As you move up the Grade Line, you get more in depth and more graphic in the Talks and you even include Speakers such as, Ex-Cons as well as Law Enforcement Officers, Lawyers, Judges, Prison Guards, etc. You talk to them about the Laws, what life is like in Prison and what life will be like when they are released from Prison.
This is just part of my Plan that I feel will help lower the Crime Rate if I am elected. You can check out my full Platform on my web site at davidthawkins.com.