Pubdate: Fri, 28 Jan 2005
Source: Fort Pierce Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2005 The E.W. Scripps Co.


New tactics designed to reduce crimes in Fort Pierce appear to be having an 

According to a recent report by the Fort Pierce Police Department, violent 
crimes in the city dropped dramatically in 2004 compared to 2003.

The number of homicides, the report said, dropped from 14 to six. Forcible 
sex offenses dropped from 80 to 65.

Also, it said, other crimes such as robbery and auto thefts declined by 31 
percent and 18 percent, respectively. Drug offenses declined by 10 percent.

Police Chief Eugene Savage said the crime rates were the lowest since he 
joined the department in 1997.

Part of the reduction in crimes is being attributed to the Weed & Seed Task 
Force, a combined effort of the police department, the St. Lucie County 
Sheriff's Office and other state and federal agencies. The task force 
targets street level crime and tries to catch minor offenses before they 
can escalate.

Savage said a major focus has been drug crimes which have previously often 
been the motivation behind homicides in the city.

In addition, he said, the department has changed its crime model to mirror 
one in New York City which uses comparative statistical analyses in 
targeting areas of concern.

While we are gratified by the steps taken to reduce crimes and their 
apparent success, for the victim of a crime, one crime is one crime too 
many. We're hopeful the police department will not relax its efforts, but 
will continue to be aggressive in preventing crimes and in arresting 

Public cooperation is also essential in community crime fighting efforts. 
Members of this community seem to have become more frustrated by crimes and 
have become more willing to assist law enforcement officers in taking back 
the community from criminal elements who have too long preyed on and made 
residents fearful. That effort needs to continue and to grow.

Crime is not just a police problem, but a community problem.

We are optimistic that with new approaches by the Fort Pierce Police 
Department, with cooperation and assistance from other law enforcement 
agencies, and with public support for their efforts on behalf of a safer 
community, that the crime rates will drop even more.
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