Boca Raton sees double-digit percent crime increase in 2016

(Palm Beach Post file photo)

BOCA RATON – There was a 13 percent increase in violent and non-violent crimes in Boca Raton last year, according to data released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Thursday.

Aside from rapes, which decreased between 2015 and 2016, and murder, which remained steady at just one per year, all violent and non-violent crimes in Boca increased slightly.

» READ: Boca bans swimming at all city beaches due to bacteria levels

There were 2,734 reported crimes, largely non-violent, such as motor vehicle theft, larceny and burglary.

Boca Raton Police cleared 29.4 percent of the criminal cases, one of the highest clearance rates among Palm Beach County’s largest cities, according to the data.

That increase in crime was also seen in neighboring cities Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, although Boca’s overall crime rate is the lowest of the three.

Crime also rose slightly in Palm Beach County, while statewide cases are at the lowest level in 46 years.

There were large Palm Beach County municipalities that reported decreases in crime last year, including Lake Worth, Riviera Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Royal Palm Beach and Wellington.

VIDEOS: Burglars break into cars outside Boynton Beach homes

Snapshot of video provided by Boynton Beach Police

There were several car burglaries over the weekend in Boynton Beach and police want to see if you can identify those suspected of committing the crimes.

Read more Boynton Beach stories here.

The man in the video below was caught on home surveillance video with another man burglarizing cars on Star Ruby Boulevard, east of South Military Trail and north of Boynton Beach Boulevard, on Friday.

The man in the video below got into two vehicles in the same driveway on Hudson Lane, also east of South Military Trail and just south of Hypoluxo Road, early Monday morning. He was caught on home surveillance cameras. He stole a cell phone from one of the cars, said police spokeswoman, Stephanie Slater.

If you recognize any of the men, call Boynton police at (561) 732-8116 or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS. You can remain anonymous.

After recent shootings, Boynton Beach mayor to host town hall meeting

Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Katz (center) speaks to members of the media about the city's recent gun violence Wednesday, January 25, 2017 as Mayor Steven B. Grant (left) and District 4 Commissioner Joe Casello (right) look on. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Katz (center) speaks to members of the media about the city’s recent gun violence Wednesday, January 25, 2017 as Mayor Steven B. Grant (left) and District 4 Commissioner Joe Casello (right) look on. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

After two shootings that left seven people with gunshot wounds, Boynton Beach Mayor Steven Grant said he planned to hold monthly public town hall meetings to promote community unity and open dialogue.

The first meeting is Monday at 6 p.m. The meeting is at Carolyn Sims Center at 225 N.W. 12th Ave., south of Gateway Boulevard.

Read: Boynton police chief says criticism of police “needs to stop”

Four adults and a 6-year-old boy were shot, possibly by a high-powered assault weapon, on Jan. 21 on the 500 block of Northeast Second Street. On Jan. 24, two men were shot at 320 NE 13th Ave., less than a mile from the first shooting.

No arrests have been made. Police Chief Jeffrey Katz said tracking down the shooters would be difficult without the community’s input.

The next town hall meeting will be March 6 at 4 p.m. at City Hall at 100 E. Boynton Beach Blvd.

For information, call 561-742-6010.

 

Boynton Police: How not to be a victim when selling items online

(BBPD)
(BBPD)

The Boynton Beach Police Department is warning residents of a new scam.

Last week, three people tried to sell their iPhones using the app OfferUp. A potential buyer asked them to meet at 1901 N. Seacrest Blvd., which is Ezell Hester, Jr. Community Park. Once there, the potential buyer snatched the phones from the sellers’ hands and ran away.

Read: Safest place to sell on Craigslist? Police lobbies

The department is recommending people use the lobby, at 100 E. Boynton Beach Blvd., as a place to make these transactions.

“Plus…if the buyer or seller doesn’t want to meet you in a police department lobby, that’s a clue something’s not legit,” a police spokeswoman wrote on the department’s Facebook page.

Violent crime in Boynton Beach down for first six months of year

Boynton Beach Police Department Sgt. Hap Crowell checks an empty car parked on a roadway on Saturday, April 9, 2016. The driver returned to the vehicle after fishing in a nearby canal. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)
Boynton Beach Police Department Sgt. Hap Crowell checks an empty car parked on a roadway on Saturday, April 9, 2016. The driver returned to the vehicle after fishing in a nearby canal. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

The number of violent crimes, such as robbery and aggravated assault, in the first half of this year in Boynton Beach were down compared to that of the first half of 2015, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics released Monday.

However, non-violent crimes, such as larceny and motor vehicle theft, increased.

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Overall, crime in the first half of the year increased by 9.9 percent compared to the first half of 2015, the stats show.

For overall crime, Boynton came in the third highest in Palm Beach County with an index of 1,953, behind the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (7,796) and West Palm Beach (3,150). Delray Beach came in fourth with an index of 1,591.

To read more Boynton Beach stories, click here.

Agency Year Murder Rape Robbery Aggravated assault Burglary Larceny Motor vehicle theft % cleared
Boynton Beach Police Department 2015 2 3 92 171 281 1,143 85 22.8
Boynton Beach Police Department 2016 1 1 74 160 295 1,315 107 27.0
Source: Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Statistics cover crime for the first half of each year.

Get to know Boynton Beach police with these stats

Jeffrey S. Katz, Boynton Beach Police Department. courtesy photo.
Jeffrey S. Katz, Boynton Beach Police Department. courtesy photo.

Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Katz held a Town Hall meeting last week and gave some stats about his department. Here they are:

  • The department hires 1.2 percent of those who apply. That’s 26 hires out of 2,159 who applied over a year and a half. Chief Jeffrey Katz describes them as “first-round draft choices.” They hope to hire those with a college education, who represent minorities, who have prior police experience and who are veterans.
  • Officers responded to 63,221 calls for service in 2015. That’s a 10 percent increase from 2014.
  • They gave out 5,796 citations in 2015.
  • They made 2,394 arrests in 2015. 95.2 percent of those arrests did not involve use of force.
  • They investigated 3,029 traffic crashes in 2015. Eleven people died.
  • Police made 8,255 extra patrols in 2015.
  • They investigated 18,998 code compliance calls.
  • From 2013 to 2015 police encountered 318 firearms.

 

 

Boynton police recover gun reported two years ago as stolen

BBPD
BBPD

Boynton Beach police officers say they took a handgun off the streets that was reported stolen out of Hillsborough County in March 2014.

Officers Shaun James and Jon Varags were called to an apartment complex on Northeast First Street on Tuesday night to investigate a claim that about 10 people were selling drugs, a police briefing says.

To read more stories about Boynton Beach, click here.

Vargas spoke with some of the people there, and James searched the ground.

That’s when he found the semi-automatic handgun leaning against the wall of the building. It was about five feet from where the group was standing. 

“The firearm had a fully seated magazine with 8 9mm Luger bullets, but none in the chamber,” police said. 

No one at the scene claimed the gun. Police placed it into evidence and will find out if it’s been used in any crimes since it was stolen.

 

 

Delray Beach Police: ‘Lock your doors’ after 108 car burglaries in June

(Contributed)
(Contributed)

“I can’t remember the last time we came even close to approaching 100 reported vehicle burglaries in a month,” said Delray Beach Police Chief Jeff Goldman in a post on Facebook after revealing there were 108 auto burglaries in the month of June alone.

Of those 108 auto burglaries in Delray Beach, 79 happened in unlocked vehicles, according to police. Goldman is urging residents to lock their doors and report suspicious activity to reduce the likelihood of future car burglaries.

The number of overall burglaries appears to be declining, although the number of auto burglaries this past month amounts to almost half of the number of burglaries in the rest of 2016, according to statistics released by the department.

  • In 2014, there were 535 auto burglaries, 53 percent of which involved unlocked vehicles.
  • In 2015, there were 433 auto burglaries, 60 percent of which involved unlocked vehicles.
  • Between January and May this year, there were 279 auto burglaries, 71 percent of which involved unlocked vehicles.

“Keep your valuables out of sight and lock your doors,” reads a poster the department is circulating online.

It continues: “Don’t be a statistic.”