Crime rates are trending down in Winter Park – a step away from the previous year that saw a spike in burglaries.
Police statistics show that when comparing the first six months of 2012 to the first six months of 2013, burglaries have dropped by 42.9 percent and robberies have dropped by 23.1 percent. Simple assaults also dropped down by 21.4 percent, as well as non-violent crimes by 17.1 percent.
Police Chief Brett Railey said the city saw a decrease in crime in the first half of this year because of efficient police work and collaboration between the police department and the community.
“I credit the officers on the street for their high-visibility patrol, our detectives because they were relentless in the work that they did to catch the burglars, our crime analyst who did a fantastic job in helping us put the dots together, and then the neighborhood watch and the public interaction,” Railey said. “All of those things worked together to make that happen.”
Last year saw a total of 374 burglaries, with 134 commercial and 240 residential. The total was a 52 percent increase from 2011, which had 246 burglaries.
In response to the spike in burglaries from last year, the police department increased the number of patrols in marked and unmarked police cars, and spread the word through neighborhood watch programs.
Sgt. Jamie Loomis of the Winter Park Police Department said this kind of collaboration is the only way to make a difference in reducing crime.
“The police department can’t totally control crime in an effort, it has to be a collaborative effort between the business owners, the residents, and the police department,” Loomis said. “Everybody in the community has a hand in how safe the community is.”
“Our community is just fabulous here in Winter Park; everybody pulled together, we did what we’re supposed to and it looks like we’ve been blessed with a reduction.”
Loomis encouraged residents to use resources such as the crime mapping webpage on the Winter Park Police website to stay informed about crime in their area.
“If the community doesn’t know that it’s an issue, then the community can’t respond,” Loomis said. “It’s really a hand-in-hand collaboration between the community and the police department.”
Moving forward, the Winter Park Police Department will continue tracking crime trends, relying on its crime analyst to target hot spots where the police can allocate time and manpower, Loomis said.
“We’re hoping to hold our ground,” Railey said. “As long as we have people, we’re going to have crime, we realize that. There comes a point where you accept that, but I’m not willing to accept that as long as I’m chief.”
“I’m wanting to work toward zero crime.”