Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Lowest Crime Rate Seven Years in a Row

Amira Fox, State Attorney for the 20th Judicial District was the guest speaker at the recent luncheon hosted by the Women’s Republican Club of Naples, Federated.

Great news! For the seventh year in a row, the 20th Judicial Circuit had the lowest crime rate among all 20 Circuits in the State of Florida. The newly released Florida Uniformed Crime Report System for 2018 is produced annually by Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Tallahassee from data submitted statewide.

Marco’s Republican Club of South Collier County members. Front row: Rachel DeHanas, Victoria Riordan. Back Row: Litha Berger and Jennifer Edwards, Supervisor of Elections.

“I am proud of the hard work of the men and women in law enforcement who dedicate themselves to keeping Southwest Florida a safe place to live. The State Attorney’s Office works closely with the many law enforcement agencies throughout our circuit so together we can continue to prevent crime and hold those who break the law accountable,” said State Attorney Amira Fox.

For a brief historical reference, the Florida Legislature created the 20th Judicial Circuit in 1969 and appointed Joseph P. D’Alessandro as its first State Attorney who served for 33 years. Stephen B. Russell, its second State attorney served until his retirement in 2018. State Attorney Amira D. Fox is the third State Attorney and the first female State Attorney in the history of the 20th Judicial Circuit.

The Office of the State Attorney is the primary “public” prosecuting agency in the circuit, which encompasses Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. It covers over 5,400 square miles making it the largest geographic circuit in the state with a population of over 1.2 million residents. She leads an office of 123 Assistant State Attorneys with an operating budget estimated at $26.9 million.

According to State Attorney Fox, the Economic Elder Crime Task force received a special appropriation from the legislature (thanks to Senator Kathleen Passidomo). “This will greatly help the local enforcement go after people who are ripping off our elderly,” according to Fox.

A Cold Case Homicide Unit has been added (thanks to Representatives Bob Rommel, Byron Donalds and Senator Passidomo), with the addition of two investigators to help local law enforcement on cases 20 years and older.

Other issues discussed:

Human Trafficking – Florida is number three in the country in reporting human trafficking. Fox stated that they are seeing trends that many human trafficking victims are runaways and from foster homes.

Fraudulent Charities – According to the Florida Attorney General’s Office, in Florida, charities must register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Ask them to send you a pledge form — legitimate charities will have no problem with this request.

Fraudulent Contractors – The law has recently changed according to Fox. The old law made it difficult for prosecutors to prove contractors intended to defraud consumers. HB 7125 has been rewritten, adding new language that will make it easier for a judge to rule that the contractor had “intent to defraud.”

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