FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Fort Myers Police Department has submitted the Annual Uniform Crime Report to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for review.
Overall, crime is up in the City of Fort Myers 11.5 percent for 2011 compared to 2010. The percentage reflects an increase of 391 crimes citywide. Chief Doug Baker is concerned with the results.
“We have every available resource working to continue the downward trend, the 50 percent decrease, we’ve seen over the past decade,” Chief Baker said.
Burglaries and thefts had the highest increases.
While the state is experiencing a 10 percent unemployment rate, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity the number of people out of work in the City of Fort Myers is much higher. The unemployment rate in zip code 33916 is 28.3 percent, 33905 is 18.2 percent and 33901 is 16.8 percent.
“I believe as the down economy continues we are seeing people who normally wouldn’t commit crimes participating in the activity,” said Chief Baker.
Police are working daily to follow trends and make arrests before more crimes are committed. In addition, officers are participating in a countywide metal theft task force to combat theft and the illegal sale of metal in Southwest Florida.
Police are also continuing efforts to reduce violent crime. In 2011, police removed 264 guns from City streets. A total of 1,277 guns have been removed since the effort began in 2008.
“The men and women of the department are working hard to keep our neighborhoods and businesses safe. But we are only as good as the community allows us to be. We need citizens to protect and lock their properties and vehicles and we need people to come forward and report suspicious activity. Crime prevention is everyone’s responsibility,” Chief Baker concluded.