In recognition of National Crime Prevention Month, this week state Attorney General Ashley Moody encouraged Floridians to take precautions to avoid becoming a victim of crime.
For the past 50 years, Florida has continued to enjoy an overall decrease in crime. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s 2020 Annual Uniform Crime Report, overall crime was down 14.1 percent last year. However, nationally, there is an increase in violent crime, including murder. According to recent reports, 2020 saw a 30 percent increase in homicides nationwide from 2019.
“Preventing crime is not just a job for law enforcement, it is incumbent on each of us as responsible citizens to take steps to increase public safety. While Florida is enjoying a crime rate that has fallen for 50 straight years, nationally we are seeing lawlessness on the rise—especially in major cities. National Crime Prevention Month is a great time to reexamine the precautions you are taking to protect yourself, your family and your neighbors from falling victim to crime,” Moody said.
In recognition of the month, Moody offered Floridians the following tips to help prevent crime:
Avoid going outside alone at night or in the dark hours of the early morning;
Call 911 if any unlawful activity or danger is suspected;
Lock vehicles, even when parked on personal property;
Never carry or display large amounts of cash or expensive items in public; and
Park in well-lit public areas close to people, stores and walkways.
Always call 911 in emergency situations.
Last year, Moody partnered with the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers to create **TIPS, a new statewide cellular phone number for the anonymous citizen reporting process. Prior to its formation, the process required users to dial the many local Crime Stoppers agencies’ number directly. This statewide program now allows citizens to anonymously report crime anywhere in the states and collect rewards for tips that lead to an arrest. The goal is to encourage even more citizens to help law enforcement solve cases and stop crime.
Additionally, Moody worked with FACS to increase the award money for people who provide anonymous tips. Tipsters who provide information leading to an arrest in murder and other homicide cases are now eligible for awards of up to $9,500.
Now, when a user calls **TIPS from a cellphone, in addition to routing the caller to the local Crime Stoppers line, a smartphone application link will be sent to the phone that enables an individual to download the Florida Crime Stoppers app. This free app is another avenue for individuals to anonymously report tips subject to rewards.