The crime rate in the City of Bradenton continues to fall.
A report released today by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows a 7.7-percent decrease in Part One Offenses in the City limits from January through June compared to the same time period in 2011. “Part One Offenses” is the category of the crimes of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.
But the trend is nothing new in the City of Bradenton. With the exception of a slight uptick in these crimes in 2011, crime has fallen each year starting in 2004 when the City experienced a 7.4-percent decrease in crime. In 2005, Bradenton experienced a 9.9-percent decrease in crime – one of the most significant drops in crime in decades. It nearly repeated that just a few years later when crime dropped 9.8 percent in 2010.
Mayor Wayne Poston, who also is the City’s Police Commissioner, said the police department’s style of “community policing” helped forge a relationship between the neighborhoods and their beat officers, and that resulted in reduced crime – and more arrests.
“The City of Bradenton’s community policing initiative was creative, innovative and reduced crime at a time when crime was increasing in other cities and counties in Florida,” Mayor Poston said. “We coupled that initiative with keeping the same officers in the same zones every shift they worked. Citizens became familiar with the officers. A trust was built between citizens and police, and the chemistry from neighborhood trust across the City resulted in fewer crimes and more crimes solved and more successfully prosecuted.”
Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said state records show there were 3,775 Part One Offenses reported in 2003. Compare that to 2,527 Part One Offenses reported in 2011 and this shows that the efforts of the Bradenton Police Department have resulted in a whopping 33.06-percent decrease in crime from 2003-2011.
With a 7.7-percent decrease in crime during the first half of 2012, officials are confident that numbers will show yet another annual decrease when Florida Department of Law Enforcement releases its final 2012 statistics in April 2013.
Chief Radzilowski also credited the department’s philosophy of community policing where “police, neighborhoods and businesses work together to make the City of Bradenton a better place to live, work and conduct business.”
The International Association of Chiefs of Police agrees: This method is working well in Bradenton.
Earlier this fall the Bradenton Police Department was one of four finalists in the country for the coveted International Association of Chiefs of Police’s National Community Policing Award, which recognizes law enforcement departments for community policing efforts. In addition, Bradenton Police Department earned its reaccreditation in September.