Acting Police Chief Scott Masington told Local 10 that despite the uptick in some property crime categories, "our crime rate is down."
His interpretation of the data is accurate. He says he'd prefer the public to compare the figures to crime rates from the previous five years. When considering that gamut of figures, crime rates are down relative to how high they were in previous years, even in categories in which there has been a recent spike. This long view of sorts has the added benefit of figures from 2008, a year in which crime rates were the highest in most categories over the past six years. This slightly skews the overall average.
Acting Chief Masington says the percentages can be deceiving and appear inflated since the individual numbers per category are so low.
Take, for example, purse snatchings. The percentage increase from 2011 to 2012 was a whopping 200%. That is because there were just 4 in 2011 compared to 12 in 2012. He also stressed the added benefit Coral Gables residents have when it comes to the ratio of officers per capita.
"Our residents and business men and women are safe in this environment," Masington said.
Arguments and interpretations aside, it doesn't change the fact that Hidalgo had no idea a man was recently arrested for sneaking into apartments at her complex. She said she would have appreciated a simple reminder to lock the doors and close the windows, simple crime prevention steps that people sometimes forget when living in a safe area.
"It would be good to know what's going on in the community and what we can do to be careful, even if they were telling people to be more conscious about locking doors, just so that we are aware at least," said Hidalgo.
"We do have this particular case on our agenda for our next crime watch meeting," said Masington.
According to Masington, the city informs the community about crime trends through various programs, including neighborhood crime watch meetings.
Salerno told Local 10 the city sends information through e-mail subscription alerts. He cited a recent announcement about a fraud case as an example.
"A lot of crimes are petty. You wouldn't put out an alert to the whole community because it's sort of like crying wolf. If we do it every single time there's a crime in this city, nobody would ever pay attention to it."
Local 10's Vazquez asked Masington for an invite to the police department's upcoming community outreach events. At last check, he was working on making that happen so Local 10 can show how the city is working to communicate with its community about crime trends.