To the residents of Lee County and our many visitors,
Thank you for placing your trust in me to lead Southwest Florida’s largest law enforcement agency. It is an honor, privilege and duty I take seriously, as I undertake my fourth term as Sheriff.
Public support has been critical to the success of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and a contributing factor to our drop in crime. I am proud that the crime rate has declined for the ninth consecutive year in unincorporated Lee County. The 11.5 percent drop we experienced in 2016 brings the overall crime rate reduction to 52.3 percent since I became your Sheriff in 2005.
The decline is encouraging for a jurisdiction of this size, but as far as I’m concerned, even one crime is one too many. The men and women of this agency continue to work diligently to further improve the quality of life for our residents and visitors to Southwest Florida.
Specifically, I believe community partnerships are the key to our success. I commend our dedicated deputies, correctional officers, civilian support staff, agency volunteers and the many residents who have made personal connections with us and enhanced their communities through LCSO’s outreach programs and social media platforms.
It should come as no surprise that calls for service continue to grow. Overall, we experienced a 4 percent increase to 587,159 calls for service in 2016. We also made inroads combating the scourge of drugs. Deputies made 2,593 arrests, a 27 percent increase from the prior year. I’m also very pleased that we saw a 25.9 percent drop in robberies, a 21.7 percent decline in residential burglaries and 19 percent drop in non-residential burglaries. You are welcome to review LCSO’s comprehensive Uniform Crime Report for 2016 to judge for yourself how we are doing.
Lee County’s population currently is 680,539 and is forecasted to reach more than 1 million residents by 2036, according to estimates from Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research. For perspective, consider that Lee County has gained more than 131,000 residents since I took office. We’ve successfully managed the population growth and provided prompt victim services and wide ranging community outreach. We will continue to do so in the future.
I look forward to further crime reduction in 2018 as we work to keep paradise safe. Thanks again for your support.