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TPD Chief Deleo, Leon County Sheriff McNeil Talk Local Crime Rate

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MGN Online

The overall crime rate is down for the Tallahassee and Leon County area. While they still have work to do, the head of two local law enforcement agencies say they’re making a lot of headway.

In 2016, the Tallahassee area experienced more than a 14 percent decrease in violent crime. This year, that number was up by one tenth of one percent. Tallahassee Police Chief Mike Deleo says that’s still a huge reduction from what it was a few years ago. So, now his agency is more focused on property crimes.

“So, what we’re talking about with the property crimes is break-ins to vehicles, break-ins to homes, vehicle thefts,” said Deleo. “A lot of things that we’re doing is community awareness, social media…if we had people lock their cars, we could significantly reduce our crime rate in Tallahassee. More than half of our vehicle burglaries or break-ins of cars, where people’ backpacks, purses, personal pretty are stolen are in unlocked cars.”

And, Deleo says overall, the local law agencies have made a lot of strides.

“So, overall, the crime in our community has dropped 14 percent over last year,” he added. “So, when some people use the words ‘crisis’ and ‘epidemic,’ we’re actually safer today than we were last year because crime is significantly down by a couple thousands incidents less.”

Still, Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil says even with these strides, the only real way to reduce the crime rate is taking care of the root cause of crime. That includes the high schoolers dropping out, unemployment, poverty, and recidivism.

“We have reduced crime so far by something close to about 15, 16 percent, and that’s the great work that our deputies and officers are doing,” said McNeil. “But, at the end of the day, though, that’s not sustainable, unless we deal with some of those quality of life issues or health issues in our community. We’ll get this done for day, but if we don’t deal with those issues, it will surface again.”

Both McNeil and Deleo spoke during Thursday’s Public Affairs show Perspectives.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.