Published: Jul 29, 2011 5:20 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 29, 2011 4:20 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla.- The City of Fort Myers experienced 182 more crimes for the first six months of 2011 compared to the same time period last year. That number is equivalent to a 10.8 percent increase. Recently the Fort Myers Police Department submitted the Semi-Annual Crime Report to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for review.

Chief Doug Baker is concerned with the results. “We have been doing more with less since budget cuts began in 2009. Policing is harder with fewer resources. And as the economy continues to be negative it affects all of us.”

Below is a breakdown of crime January through June for 2010 and 2011:

 

 

2010

2011

Burglary

 

294

308

Theft

 

916

1092

Auto Theft

112

87

Robbery

 

84

81

Assault

 

248

260

Sex Offense

31

33

Murder

 

5

11

Total UCR

 

1690

1872

 

The City is seeing its biggest increase in thefts, specifically shoplifting and metal thefts.

“A negative economy can force people to commit crimes they normally wouldn’t do," said Chief Baker. "We are working with retail businesses throughout the City and we are part of a task force that focuses its efforts on metal thefts.”

Violent crime is also up and proactive policing remains a priority. In the first six months of 2011 FMPD removed 136 guns from City streets and the department’s Community Offender Probation and Education Unit (COPE) continues to assist adult offenders who are serving out their sentences in the City.

“We don’t have a crystal ball but we are monitoring crime on a daily basis and adjusting resources where needed. We’ve been successful over the past decade decreasing crime 50 percent citywide. And we are going to work hard to continue the trend,” said Chief Baker.

However, Chief Baker reminds citizens police can’t do it alone. “We are only as successful as the community allows us to be. We need citizens to participate in crime prevention, protect their homes and property and report suspicious activity.”

Anyone with information is asked to call FMPD at 321-7700, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS or text message C-R-I-M-E-S (274637) Keyword FMPD. Tipsters can remain anonymous.