Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent addressed the state of crime at the Tuesday, October 20 city council meeting and presented statistics showing overall improvement of the city’s crime.
“Auto thefts are the one area where it continues to move in the wrong direction,” Vincent said. “The numbers still aren’t very high. When you look at us in comparison to St. Petersburg, our rates are much much lower.”
Vincent and the Gulfport Police Department continue to strongly urge citizens to take the necessary first step in preventing this sort of crime by locking car doors all of the time.
“Crime trends are moving in the right direction,” Vincent said. “Violent crimes have been consistently going down over the past five years.”
Vincent also boasted that the clearance rate on crime have increased thanks to analyzing crime better.
“This is pretty confidence-inspiring. The clearance rate is the rate at which we are resolving crimes,” Vincent said. “The national average is about 20 percent and we’re on schedule to be at over 27 percent.”
Vincent credits this climb to long tenure of police in Gulfport and analysis which includes linking cases that normally would not have been linked together.
Council also heard recommendations from City Manager Jim O’Reilly about the upcoming contract negotiations with American Traffic Solutions who run the city’s red light cameras.
Council had the option to either discontinue the red light camera program or renew the contract with ATS.
“I do not recommend you renew this contract,” O’Reilly said.
The contract ends in March of 2016.