JASPER — Crime is on the decline in Hamilton County.
According to the semi-annual Uniform Crime Report, crime decreased 20% in the county for the first six months of the year as opposed to 2018. After 180 crimes were reported the first half of 2018, there were 143 crimes this year from January through June, although the UCR released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows no reporting from the Jasper Police Department.
“I am very happy that the crime rate has gone down, and we are looking forward to continue doing our best to bring it down even further,” Sheriff Harrell Reid said. “When dealing with smaller counties such as ours, you have to take all factors into consideration, if you have one crime in 2018, and two crimes in 2019, it shows as a 100% increase for that crime.
“Our overall crime rate though has went down, meaning it does show that we are doing our jobs.”
While crime decreased the first half of the year — notably a drop from 109 larcenies in 2018 to 78 in 2019 as well as no robberies or murders reported after three robberies and one murder early in 2018 — aggravated assaults did rise, minimally. There was one additional aggravated assault reported this year.
Jasper Police Chief Jeff McGuire said his department did submit its initial report in August. However, the report didn’t go through the verification process in time to be counted, he said.
But McGuire said that crime was also down in the city as well, although there were three aggravated assaults this year as compared to one in the first half of 2018.
The UCR also shows a decrease in crime in White Springs, with the White Springs Police Department handing one aggravated assault, one burglary, one vehicle theft and five larcenies the first half of the year.
The Jennings Police Department, meanwhile, handled two aggravated assaults, one burglary and two larcenies during those six months.