WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The latest crime numbers from the FBI show a rise in overall crime in the United States in 2020, but it offered some encouraging numbers for Florida.
Crime statistics is something University of Miami professor Alexis Piquero at the University of Miami looks at daily.
The criminologist has been busy analyzing the latest FBI crime report for 2020, which contains information from police and sheriff departments across the country.
"Homicides are up in most large metropolitan cities in the United States," Piquero said.
The data showed that violent crime was up 5.6 percent from 2019, while property crime dropped 7.8 percent.
"Is crime up? Yup. It's up for certain kinds of crimes in certain places around the country, more so than others," Piquero said. "Is it a cause for panic? No, it's not a cause for panic. Is it a cause for concern? Yes, it's a cause for concern."
Nationwide, crime does appear to be up overall, but in Florida, the trend seems to be down.
Recent data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement showed that crime indexes in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties were down from 2019.
"When you look at the index crimes, the violent crime rate, you're looking at aggravated assault, rape, robbery and homicide," Piquero said. "But you can still have variability and increases in some of those that are masked by drops in other ones, and so when you look at those rates, a lot goes into those rates."
In Palm Beach County in 2020, there were drops in rape, robberies and burglaries but homicides were basically level at 89, according to FDLE data.
However, Piquero said when compared to many large metropolitan areas in the U.S., areas of South Florida are relatively safer.
"People also need to know that we live in a relatively safe area of the country relative to other places," Piquero said. "We are somewhat immune from the larger trends in homicides [that have occurred] in other cities like Philadelphia and Las Vegas have seen this year."