Despite a leaner operational budget in 2010, Orlando Police Chief Val Demings said on Monday, total violent crimes declined by 12 percent during the period January 1 to December 15, compared to a similar period one year ago. Greater use of technology and community outreach had assisted police officers in carrying out their duties more effectively the Chief said.
In reviewing OPD’s scorecard at the annual media round table, Chief Demings also noted that murders had declined by 43 percent compared to one year ago, and robberies and aggravated assault had declined by 16 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Although 1,011 guns had been removed from the streets of Orlando, representing a 5 percent increase over 2009, this was a substantial drop off from the 55 percent or 342 guns confiscated in 2009 over the previous year. Demings expressed her concern for the importance of continuing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and noted too, the increase in violence against police officers. Perhaps not surprisingly, there was an uptick in the use of deadly force by police officers in 2010.
Over the year, OPD launched several violent crime initiatives aimed at routing out criminality. These included: Operation: Free Palms, Trident, Cannonball, Evaporation and Operation Pressure Point, among others.
Observing that there were now approximately 225 apartment communities within the Orlando City limits, efforts would be stepped up to have all apartment complexes designated as Crime Free Certified Properties.
Demings lauded the recently introduced network of public safety cameras–Innovative Response to Improve Safety (IRIS)—located throughout Orlando, that assist officers in crime prevention and criminal apprehension.
Looking ahead, Demings said that the rise of pain clinics or “pill mills” and copper thefts presented ongoing challenges. As in 2010, the Department’s priorities in 2011 remain, the continued reduction of violent crime, removal of crime guns from the streets, community based initiatives, training and the continued introduction and use of technological tools.