It goes without saying that 2020 was not the year any of us expected. Between social unrest, politics, and coronavirus, 2020 posed quite a few threats to our daily comfort. In addition to all of this, regular crime and legal issues were still commonplace. Below we have 5 of last year’s crime and traffic statistics that may shock you. Hopefully, this makes you aware of the issues you may face living in the cities we serve. Brooks Law Group is here to help you prepare for a better, safer year in 2021.
Polk County Crime and Traffic Statistics
Central Florida has quite a lot to boast about, even outside of its big-named cities, Orlando and Tampa. Polk County has an uncanny ability to churn out “Florida men” who end up on the news for things no one should end up on the news for. Our drivers do, however, have much fewer “Disney tourists” blocking up major roadways than Orlando drivers do. Polk residents are much less susceptible to the extremes of nature (like tornadoes and hurricanes) than those living in Tampa. And to top it all off, we’ve got Sheriff Grady Judd.
Jokes aside, Polk County’s 2020 crime and traffic statistics have a lot to say. Here are 5 statistics that may help us better understand what we’re up against this year:
- Violent Crime: Lakeland’s average is lower than the national average. For every 367 violent crimes per capita nationally, there are only 312 in Lakeland. However, Winter Haven has an average of 423—higher than the state and national averages.
- Aggravated Assault: The rate in Lakeland is lower than the national average (163 per capita versus 250 nationwide). In Lake Wales, the average is higher at 272.
- Property Crime: Averages in Polk County are notably higher than the national average. The national average is 2,110 total property crimes per capita. The average in Auburndale is a staggering 4,287, compared to 2,547 in Winter Haven.
- Burglary: The national average is 340 burglaries per capita. Averages in Lakeland, Winter Haven, and Auburndale are higher at 390, 409, and 606, respectively.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: Polk residents are more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than the average Floridian or American. This has been the case for at least 20 years.
(“Per capita” as it is used in these studies represents a unit of 100,000 people.)
What These Crime and Traffic Statistics Mean
The statistics are pretty clear on what Polk County area residents need to be most wary about in 2021. For the most part, Polk County is a comparably safe place to live. Violent crime rates are lower than the national average in some cities, however they are higher than most neighboring cities.
The real kicker in regards to crime in central Florida is car theft/larceny. Car thefts have been astronomical in Polk and neighboring counties. One of the most common crimes committed in Polk County in 2020 was property crime involving vehicles. This was typically theft from a vehicle (by smashing windows/breaking in).
How to Avoid Becoming a Statistic in 2021
Now that we know the stats, here’s what you can do to avoid adding to them this year:
- When leaving your vehicle anywhere, always take the keys out of the ignition and lock the doors.
- When leaving valuables in your vehicle for any period of time, keep them hidden out of sight. Glove compartments, under seats, and in the trunk are good examples of safe places to keep valuables. If you don’t have tinted windows, invest in some to keep the contents of your vehicle more hidden. Tinted windows also keep the harsh Florida sun at bay!
- If you don’t have an audible anti-theft device, like a car alarm, investing in one is worth it. This is especially true if you live in a particularly high-crime area. Other devices can help too, such as immobilizing anti-theft devices like steering locks.
- Vehicle trackers are a very effective way to recover your vehicle in the worst case that it’s stolen.
- At home, keep windows and doors closed and locked, curtains drawn, and valuables out of sight as much as possible.
- Drive safely by obeying all traffic laws, staying alert, and eliminating distractions.
At the end of the day, common sense is king. In most cases, theft and larceny occur when someone is careless or inattentive. With the proper caution and a little effort, these issues can be completely prevented.
Injured? Contact Brooks Law Group Today.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or as the result of another’s negligence, call Brooks Law Group. Our expert attorneys can fight for the compensation you need to fully recover. We serve all of Central Florida, and with offices in Tampa, Winter Haven, and Lakeland, we’re always close by. Call us today at 1-800-LAW-3030 or reach out online to learn your options with a free consultation.