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Law Enforcement Crime Rate Down in the City of Palmetto


PALMETTO -- Palmetto Chief of Police Rick Wells is doing some things differently to reduce crime in the City of Palmetto. Wells says he is taking a new approach, and it appears to be working. This year the Palmetto PD is requesting a budget nearly $40,000 less from Palmetto's CRA and an increase in community organizations to keep the trend going.

Chief Wells has chosen to be more of a part of the community than just commander of the streets. He has invited in UNIDOS, a mentoring program that is operating out of the Palmetto Youth Center to lend a hand. 

Unidos Now Director, and ex-Sarasota Mayor, Kelly Kirschner, has become part of Palmetto's new approach on strengthening the community. The Unidos program helps get students workforce and college ready, deterring them from criminal activity.

Wells has also brought in motivational speakers like Mr. Victor Woods. Wells said, "He reaches children like no one else and gets them through issues and struggles they face that are worse than anything that we have ever been through."

Wells also partnered up with the University of South Florida for help through its Kingian Non-Violence Seminars, which are based on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The six-step seminars are free to the public and deal with situations that are often associated with violence.

Palmetto's overall crime rate is down 18.7 percent from last year, while the Manatee County saw a decline of one percent and the City of Bradenton's crime rate increased 3.3 percent. In Palmetto's CRA district, crime is down by seven percent; a true success story considering 60 percent of Palmetto's crime traditionally comes from that district. An extension of the city's successful gun buyback is also budgeted for next year.

Wells said, "Numbers mean nothing to me," adding, "People need to feel safe in their homes and their neighborhoods." The Chief had but one solicit: "Video is solving crimes throughout Florida. We just don't have enough of it here."

Palmetto CRA press release contributed to this report. 


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