Okaloosa and Walton counties see double digit drops in crime rate

Northwest Florida Daily News

Year-over-year, crime is down 17% in Okaloosa County and 15% in Walton County, according to an annual report complied by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The Uniform Crime Report released annually by the FDLE tracks the so-called "index crimes" of murder, aggravated assault, rape, robbery, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. In 2020, Florida’s total crime volume dropped 14.1%, or 76,523 fewer reported index crimes, compared to 2019. 

Okaloosa County sees decreases in every index crime category

Locally, the number of reported index crimes in Okaloosa County fell from 4,495 in 2019 to 3,723 in 2020. Every index category was down from the previous year, according to the UCR.

Murders fell from 12 to nine. Reported rapes dropped from 113 to 94. Aggravated assaults decreased from 554 to 514. Robberies dropped from 60 to 43.

In terms of property crimes, burglaries fell from 478 to 427. Larceny reports decreased from 2,967 to 2,331. Motor vehicle thefts ticked down from 311 to 305.

All told, the Okaloosa County crime rate for 2020 — the number of index crimes reported per 100,000 residentss — was 1,825. That number reflects a 18% decrease from 2019, when the crime rate was 2,231.

For context, Florida's total crime rate was 2,552 in 2019 and 2,152 in 2020.

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Walton County crime rate significantly below state average

Walton County also came in well below the state average, with a 2020 crime rate of 1,317. The number represents a 15% drop from 2019, when the county's crime rate was 1,550.

Walton County law enforcement agencies reported 984 index crimes in 2020, 9% fewer than the 1,086 reported in 2019.

There was one murder in each year, but the county saw an increase in rapes (from 18 to 23), robberies (from four to seven), and burglaries (from 153 to 174). 

Aggravated assaults were down in 2020, falling from 120 to 89. Reports of larceny dropped (from 713 to 616), as did reports of motor vehicle theft (from 77 to 74).