Crime in Manatee drops by more than 11 percent in '09

The rate of major crimes in Manatee County dropped by more than 11 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to a new Florida Department of Law Enforcement report. However, the numbers of murders and rapes went up.

"Part One" crimes include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft.

Numbers were down in all of the categories, except rape, which went from 91 in 2008 to 101 in 2009; and murders, which more than doubled from 12 in 2008 to 26 in 2009, according to the FDLE report, which is based on reports filed by state law enforcement agencies.

Overall, the crime rate in Manatee, which takes into account changes in population, dropped 11.3 percent from 2008 to 2009.

The crime rate for Manatee County, which takes into account the population, was 4,849.8 per 100,000 residents in 2009, down from 5,469.1 in 2008. It was the lowest rate in 20 years, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

In areas covered by the sheriff's office - unincorporated Manatee and the city of Anna Maria - crime was down 12.1 percent.

In the city of Bradenton, it was down 4.7 percent; and in Palmetto, it was down 21.2 percent.

However, crime skyrocketed in island communities - by 75.2 percent in Bradenton Beach; 43.2 percent in Holmes Beach; and 24.5 percent in Longboat Key. The increases were largely fueled by spikes in the number of reported burglaries and larcenies, according to the FDLE report.