Published: May 16, 2013 5:38 PM EDT
Updated: May 16, 2013 6:42 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement today announced the 2012 Annual Uniform Crime Report at its regional office in Fort Myers.  The report shows Florida’s crime rate dropped 6.5 percent compared to 2011.  The total number of crimes fell 6.5 percent from last year which translates into 43,536 fewer crimes in 2012.  The number of violent crimes was down 4.3 percent or 4,218 fewer crimes reported.

Non–violent crime decreased 5.9 percent or a reduction of 39,318 reported crimes compared to 2011.  The value of stolen property decreased by 9.1 percent while the value of property recovered increased 2.7 percent.  Total arrests increased 0.8 percent from 2011.

Overall domestic violence fell 3.3 percent.  While there were 3,635 fewer victims of domestic violence in 2012, cohabitants continue to be the largest group of victims in this category, with spouses remaining the second largest group. 

Crimes committed by firearms continue to drop in 2012, down 2.0 percent with 489 fewer crimes committed with guns in 2012. 

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said, “While Florida’s population continues to increase, the number of crimes continues to fall. This report is good news for Florida families, businesses and visitors. I commend our law enforcement professionals in their efforts to keep us safe.”

Highlands County Sheriff and Florida Sheriff’s Association President Susan Benton said, “The results of the 2012 Uniform Crime Report are testimony to the dedication and courage of each and every Florida Sheriff, deputy sheriff and law enforcement officer in the state. We are making a difference day by day and through such jointinitiatives as the Florida Sheriffs Task Force, whose recent five-week operation focused on protecting our youth from the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.”

Overall crime fell 11.9 percent in Lee County.  The number of burglaries saw the greatest improvement with a drop of 21.7 percent.  Overall domestic violence crimes fell 7.3 percent in Lee County.  Robbery saw an improvement of 8.1 percent.  Murder and forcible sex offenses rose in Lee County in 2012.  The number of murders jumped 18.4 percent from 2011; sexual assault rose 16.4 percent.

FDLE began tracking crime statistics in 1971.

The complete 2012 Annual Uniform Crime Report, including county-by-county breakdowns, can be found on FDLE’s website at