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Crime Rate Drops in Florida, Except for Murder

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released crime figures for the first six months of 2010 compared with last year, showing an overall drop in major crimes in Florida. A total of 19,000 less violent crimes were committed. Overall crime is down 4.8%, whereas total violent crime (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) is down by 10.7%. Total non-violent crime (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) declined 3.8 percent.

However, the murder rate was up 3.6% and there was a 5.8 percent increase in domestic violence murder.

The Sun Sentinel reported that while the murder rate also rose in Palm Beach County compared to last year, the area saw a decline in other crimes. An official at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Division attributed some of the crime drop to progress they’ve made curbing gang crimes and robberies, in part through cooperation with patrol officers and other police agencies. The County’s increase in violent robberies was attributed to the slow economy, which typically means more desperation, boldness and brazenness.

Travelers and tourists should be aware that when crimes occur in hotels or motels, premises liability can come into play in incidents involving assaults due to negligent security or insufficient lighting, dangerous products, pool and spa tragedies, transportation negligence (plane, car, bus, or taxi crashes), boating accidents, and many others.

Key areas of potential hotel/motel liability include:
• Perimeter control, or limiting access to a property through fencing, landscaping or other means (CPTED or “crime prevention through environmental design”);
• Lighting, which may have been inadequate at the start or poorly maintained after installation;
• Security equipment, including access control, locking mechanisms and closed circuit television;
• A lack of security staff, or security personnel, who may not have been properly trained, or who took inappropriate action in a violent crime situation.