The 2004 UCR (Uniform Crime Report) data was recently released by Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and according to their statistics Lafayette County's numbers are 34.7 percent. According to Sheriff Carson McCall that number is not a true picture of the crime rate in Lafayette County.

UCR is divided into two groups. Part I is crimes reported by law enforcement, those cleared by arrest or exceptional means, and the number of persons arrested is reported monthly. The crimes listed as violent crimes, such as murder, rape, assault, etc. Only arrest data is reported for Part II offenses.

McCall said, "The department has averaged 100 drug arrest per year, which is the core crime that leads to violent crimes. Remove the drugs and you remove the crimes that stem from drug use."

Unfortunately, FDLE doesn't use drug arrest to determine UCR's, that's why the numbers look so high McCall explained.

McCall said, "since 2003 the technology in this department has allowed us to make accurate reports, in the first six months of 2005 the department has filed 231 cases and responded to an average of 20 calls a day with the same number of law enforcement as before."

Another thing, said McCall, the state clearance rate for the is 23 percent of crimes solved. The percentage of cases solved in Lafayette County is 28.7 percent. According to the numbers reported by FDLE there was only 24 counties with a higher percentage of cases solved than Lafayette.

McCall said in 2002 Lafayette County had a population of 7205 with a total crime index of 19 cases reported. In 2003, the population changed to 7353 with 101 cases reported, a 431.6 percent increase from 2002. In 2004, the population changed to 7535 with 136 cases reported making a percentage change of 34.7 percent.

Statewide, Governor Jeb Bush, Attorney General Charlie Crist and FDLE Commissioner Guy Tunnell said Florida's UNC index has reached a 34-year low, dropping 6 percent in 2004 compared to 2003.

For more information on UCR index log onto FDLE's website at http:www/fdle.state.fl.us/fsac/ucr/index.asp.

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