The number of domestic violence crimes reported to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in 2012 fell 2 percent below the number of domestic violence crimes reported to the agency in 2011, according to preliminary numbers from the agency.
Don’t start cheering quite yet.
Here’s the bad news: The number of forcible sex offenses that were reported to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in 2012 rose to 38.2 percent above the number of forcible sex offenses reported to the agency in 2011.
The total number of forcible sex crimes reported to the agency in 2012 was 188, 52 more than was reported in 2011.
Offenses reported as part of the forcible sex crime statistic include rapes committed, rapes attempted, forcible sodomy and forcible fondling.
Officials largely credited the higher numbers to a rise in reports of forcible fondling. There were 66 fondling cases reported to the Sheriff’s Office in 2012. That’s 50 more than were reported in 2011.
Some cases may have occurred before 2012 but just were reported that year.
The statistics are Pasco’s preliminary Uniform Crime Report numbers and will be verified by the state.
The Sheriff’s Office presented the statistics at a Tuesday press conference letting folks know about a roller skating fundraiser for domestic violence shelters in Pasco County.
“There’s been a definite uptick in the last couple years in the last couple years in the number of individuals who are coming into shelter to the point where we’re actually going to be adding more beds," said Penny Morrill, chief executive officer of Sunrise of Pasco, a shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
They plan to increase the number of beds at the shelter from 24 to 40.
“As it is, we’re overcrowded all the time,” she said.
Lynn Needs, director of the Salvation Army’s domestic violence shelter in Hudson, says the organization served “over 340 women and children coming in to our shelter” over the last year, she said.
Both Sunrise and the Salvation shelters are free services, Needs pointed out.
The biggest need is money to pay bills, Needs said. That includes costs for electricity, formula and food. The Salvation Army has 32 beds.
Staff costs also have to be considered, Morrill said.
“Our staff hasn’t had a raise in seven years,” she said. “Fortunately, they’re dedicated and they’ve stayed, but that’s a tough row to hoe.”
Skating Fundraiser for Pasco’s Domestic Violence Shelters
When: Thurs., Feb. 28, 6-9 p.m.
Where: SpinNations Skating Center, 8345 Congress St., Port Richey
Cost: $8 per ticket. Tickets include 4-wheel skates. Inline skates cost extra.
Net proceeds donated to domestic violence shelters in Pasco.