Sheriff’s Office Reports Crime Rate Up – Detention Center Passes Inspection
HERNANDO – The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office released two reports this week, stating things are running smoothly at the Detention Center but crime across the county has slightly increased.
A recent inspection of the County’s Detention Center found that all areas of the facility, including cleanliness, safety, operations, kitchen, laundry, fire safety, and the medical unit was 100% compliant with Florida Sheriff’s Risk Management.
Officials say, “This achievement is the result of dedicated, professional detention staff being well trained, who are dedicated to doing the best job by being ever alert to the environment.” However, some say despite the favorable report, the facility still has room to improve.
Since January, there have been two inmate suicides and one detention deputy arrested during a narcotics sting operation, and some residents say that’s unacceptable.
Regarding the latest suicide, “Lisa Marie” says “Both losses are sad. What are the cameras even for if they’re not being watched?” “David” says “They made their choices; the people who work there are not babysitters, their corrections officers.”
In another report released by officials this week, the overall crime in Hernando County rose .2% in 2014 and has increased dramatically in the following areas: Forcible Rape – Up 21% (38 to 46), Aggravated Assaults – Up 3.4% (294 to 304). Larceny – Up 7.4% (2,511 to 2,697), Motor Vehicle Thefts – Up 22.5% (169 to 207). However, 2014 did show a decrease in Murder, Robberies and Burglaries. Murders – Down 37.5% (8 to 5), Robberies – Down 17.9% (56 to 46), Burglaries – Down 19.9% (982 to 787).
Officials say, despite the slight increase, the overall crime rate has decreased by nearly 40 percent during the last six years.
One factor that seems to at the core of most crime in Hernando County is drug abuse. In 2014 there were a total of 667 drug related arrests in Hernando County – that’s an average of nearly two arrests per day. Sadly, that number includes 79 juvenile arrests.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (NCADD), 80% of all offenders abuse drugs or alcohol and nearly 50% of jail and prison inmates are clinically addicted.
RNRF has covered dozens of shootings, home invasions, armed robberies and other violent crimes in our county, with most having ties to drug trafficking, addiction and even gang activity.
Sheriff Al Nienhuis says, “Fortunately, the numbers from last year, as well as the numbers over the last few years and the informal numbers since January, show that the crime trends in Hernando County remain at historic lows. Although law enforcement cannot take complete credit or responsibility for crime trends, there is little doubt that a law enforcement vacuum will result in criminals getting a stronghold in the community.” He goes on to say “The availability of both formal and informal bad news, as well as the speed at which it travels in today’s society, can give misconceptions about the state of affairs with regard to the county’s crime rate. These numbers show that the men and women at the Hernando County Sheriff’s continue to work hard at keeping our county a safe place to live, work, play and raise a family. I am proud of the job they do every hour of every day,” Sheriff Nienhuis said.
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