MILTON - In Saturday's article "Crime decreased by 21 percent in Santa Rosa County" Sheriff Bob Johnson stated that crime in Milton had gone up by 8 percent. This statistic did not include data for Milton City proper under the jurisdiction of the Milton City Police Department according to the city's public information's officer Pamela Holt. Holt said the Milton City Police will have updated data on the city's crime rate available in the beginning of August.
The original article is below.
MILTON — Santa Rosa County residents can rest easy knowing the county is safer thanks to the efforts of its law enforcement officers.
During a July 3 press conference, Sheriff Bob Johnson said he was pleased with the overall decline in crime so far this year.
“For the first six months this year, crime in Santa Rosa County as a whole went down over 20 percent,” he said.
Johnson said that after doing research the closest Santa Rosa has ever come to a decrease in crime like this was back in 2011 when crime went down by 11 percent.
“This is pretty much unprecedented,” he said.
Johnson said there were several reasons for the decrease. One big reason was the increase in the budget the sheriff’s office received last year resulting in 19 positions filled and a 10 percent pay increase he said.
“Prior to that 10 percent increase, we were losing officers to other agencies.” Johnson said. “It was pretty consistent.”
Johnson said that since he has been sheriff, the department has hired 31 officers. Since the beginning of this year alone, 16 officers have joined.
“I believe for the first time since probably 1995 we are going to have a waiting list to get hired by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office,” he said.
Johnson said crime in Pace is down by 21 percent and crime in Jay is down by 19 percent. However, crime in Milton, he said, rose by 8 percent, the only district in Santa Rosa County to show an increase.
The county has also had a drop in homicides by 75 percent and car burglaries by 35 percent.
Connecting with youth at earlier ages is another way to reduce crime, according to Johnson. He plans to do so by placing a resource officer in every school. During summer breaks, they would operate as normal deputies.