Three cities in the region were ranked among the Top 20 safest cities in Florida, including Punta Gorda, Venice and North Port.

The National Council for Home Safety and Security reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics to identify the safest cities in the state, according to its website.

Punta Gorda is ranked 10th on the list with 262 total crimes.

Venice earned the 12th spot with 333 total crimes.

North Port ranked 19th with 898 total crimes.

The North Port Police Department uses a policing model to target areas with higher crime rates, police spokesman Josh Taylor said.

The model also examines crime trends and has helped authorities predict where crimes often occur, leading the department to increase patrol in those areas, he said.

Authorities have used video surveillance from neighborhoods and businesses to track down potential suspects in various crimes.

The prevalence of cameras has discouraged criminal activity, Taylor said.

“People understand that there could be a camera anywhere,” Taylor said. “’Is the risk worth the reward?’”

Car burglaries — one of the cities most common crimes — happen weekly, Taylor said. The suspects, who are typically young, walk through neighborhoods checking to see if car doors are unlocked.

Loose change, compact discs, computers and even weapons are among items that have been stolen from unlocked vehicles, Taylor said.

Despite the department’s efforts to reduce crime, Taylor credits the community with contributing to the city’s ranking.

“I think it’s really North Port residents that are a huge part of this, obviously,” Taylor said. “They’re the ones not committing crimes, they’re the ones giving us information about crimes, they’re the ones helping us solve things. It’s a team effort it’s not just what North Port Police are doing to patrol the streets.”


Load comments