Statistics released last month by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement provided rare and reassuring news to local Miami-Dade residents – crime rates dropped 5.2 percent in 2012. Throughout the entire Sunshine State, crime plummeted 6.5 percent from the previous year, marking the lowest crime rate since the state began compiling statistics 42 years ago. After 2011 saw a spike in sex crimes, robbery, burglary, and weapons offenses, lower crime rates are welcomed by many. In the Miami-Dade region, rates for murders and forcible sex offenses decreased significantly last year, as well as nearly every other class of crime. The only exception with a dramatic increase was pickpocketing, which rose by 32.9 percent in 2012. Crimes rates were also down 3.8 percent in Broward County, and 3.4 percent in Palm Beach.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey attributes the drop in crime to continual improvements in technology, DNA forensics, and information sharing. He also complemented the professionalism and strengthened efforts of law enforcement agencies throughout the state, as well as a tougher policy on crime than what was enforced more than four decades ago.
Tough on Crime, Tough on Sentencing
Policies, laws, and regulations, regardless of what they enforce, are designed to act as deterrents to those who may be inclined to bend the rules. When it comes to crime, the law is everything. By establishing tougher policies, implementing harsher sentencing, and enforcing laws with increased efforts, Florida law enforcement agencies have proven that regions that were once nearly defined by and associated with high crime rates can reduce criminal activity and keep local residents safe. While lower crime rates are undeniably a positive achievement, there are always two sides to the same coin. As such, some may wonder how a bolstered policy on crime and increased efforts affect those who have fallen through the cracks.
As unfortunate as it may be, no law enforcement agency or judicial system is infallible. No one and no agency is exempt from making errors. With such a tough stand on crime, including America's lengthening War on Drugs, there are many individuals who face harsh prosecution and even harsher penalties. Wrongful accusations, extremely volatile sentencing guidelines, overzealous prosecution, and the various failings caused by human nature can cause many innocent people to suffer life-altering consequences for crimes they did not commit, or for mistakes that hardly warrant devastating repercussions. While no one argues with decreased crime rates, questions will always be raised about the law's efficacy, ethics, and fairness.
And these types of questions are essential to ask – they lead to improvements and changes in the law. While legislative changes are difficult and sluggish to enact, those who currently stand accused of crimes have the ability to defend themselves and protect their rights by retaining experienced, passionate legal representation. With Florida's renewed focus on reducing crime, anyone who has been charged with a criminal offense should making working with proven attorneys their first priority, as doing so can ensure that their rights are protected and that they have the best possible chance for defending their freedoms and futures. Longtime advocates of Miami residents charged with crimes, our firm's Miami criminal defense lawyers are here to defend those facing a variety of allegations. Contact Parks & Braxton, PA for more information about representation.