Published: Jul 29, 2011 5:11 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 29, 2011 4:11 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Lee County Sheriff's Office has released its 2011 Semi-annual report which shows violent crime has dipped 14 percent over the same six-month period last year.

"That's excellent news since it shows the continuing downward trend in violent crimes since 2008," said Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott.

Each of the violent crime categories, including homicide, robbery and sex crimes, experienced decreases, but the most significant was 63 fewer aggravated assault/stalking cases compared to the same time last year. Overall there were 602 violent crimes reported, 102 fewer than last year at this time.

Motor vehicle thefts show the biggest decline of all the reported crimes with 88 less than last year, dropping to 219, a 29 percent drop. Meanwhile, increases were seen in thefts from motor vehicles with 64 cases more than last year, up to 676. Surprisingly, bicycle thefts were also up, reaching 170 reports countywide, 62 more than last year. Those two property crimes alone account for more than half the rise in property crimes. The biggest deterrent to thefts from vehicles is to simply lock your car, truck or van. Deputies find most of these cases are the result of easy access to the interior. The next step is to take away the temptation and remove valuables, especially wallets, purses, loose change and portable electronics, such as cell phones, laptops and GPS devices. Remember the crime prevention message "Move It or Lose It!" Bicycle owners can help take away opportunities for victimization, too, by being sure to use locks when leaving bikes outside. If you put your bike in a garage or shed, don't forget to close the door. If it's out of sight, it's out of mind.

Combining all required categories in the mid-year crime report results in an overall case increase of 85, equating to a slight increase of 1.53 percent compared to the same period in 2010. Law enforcement agencies across the State of Florida file their Uniform Crime Reports with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement every six months. The data provided is used in establishing what is commonly referred as the crime rate. You can compare Lee County with others across the state on the FDLE website at www.fdle.state.fl.us under publications/annual reports/annual Media inquiries are directed to the Public Information Officer at (239) 477-1340.