The crime rate in Volusia Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction dropped again in 2020, according to data released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement this week, and the Sheriff’s Office case clearance rate landed above 50 percent, high above state and national averages.
Part I crimes, including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, dropped 11.2 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. The latest figures represent another record low, as the previous record in 2019 was already 18 percent lower than the year before.
Use of force also remained at a low level. While the Sheriff’s Office handled more than 275,000 calls for service in 2020, there were only 69 incidents involving use of force, 66 of which were non-deadly force. That means use of any type of force accounted for less than 0.03 percent of all Sheriff’s Office calls for service, and less than 1.1 percent of the 6,459 arrests sheriff’s deputies made in 2020.
Use of force and pursuit data and analyses of individual incidents are summarized in an annual report posted on the Sheriff’s Office website at: https://www.volusiasheriff.org/_/documents/2021-UOF-and-PURSUIT-ANALYSIS.pdf
Sheriff Mike Chitwood attributed the results directly to the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office, and pointed to the 51.4 percent case clearance rate achieved in 2020. The average among all Florida law enforcement agencies for the year was 25.5 percent.
“What this team has accomplished over the past several years is nothing short of incredible, and I hope the people of Volusia County are as proud of this agency as I am,” Sheriff Chitwood said Wednesday. “Every person here, sworn and civilian, has done their part to give our community the best service possible, and it shows in the numbers. We are going to continue to be relentless, creative and determined to meet any challenge that comes our way.”
With many jurisdictions across the U.S. witnessing a spike in violent crime in the first half of 2021, President Biden on Wednesday was expected to announce a series of executive orders on the issue. While overall Part I crimes are down 19 percent in Volusia Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction over the first five months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, the national trend in violent crime has shown up in VSO jurisdiction as well.
According to unofficial early data, robberies in Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction have increased 88 percent (from 34 to 64) and homicides have increased 100 percent (from 4 to 8). Aggravated domestic assaults and batteries are up 14 percent this year compared to Jan. 1 through June 5 of 2020.
For more information and local statistics on crime, anyone can access our CompStat page at https://www.volusiasheriff.org/resources/compstat.stml. Since Sheriff Chitwood launched CompStat at the Sheriff’s Office in 2017, every report has been posted on the website, along with comparisons to prior years’ data.