They are the safest ZIP codes in Central Florida. 9 Investigates' Christopher Heath partnered with geographic information mapping company Esri to look at crime rates across the 10 counties that comprise Central Florida to see what crimes are most prolific in which areas and what correlation median income has on crime rates.
According to the data, crimes like vehicle theft are more prevalent in eastern Orange County, while robbery is the most dominant crime in Orlando and areas south along I-4.
Comparing crime risk and median income across the area, some places like Winter Springs and Wekiva Springs have both high median income and low crime. On the other end of the spectrum, places like Palm Bay and Lady Lake have low crime indexes and lower median incomes.
The data, complied by Esri, looked at federal crime statistics to determine an index value weighted against the U.S. average.
"It's unreal, really in terms of how much data is available," said UCF criminal justice professor Dr. William Moreto. "Places themselves can either generate crime, attract crime or even what we refer to as crime radiators where it generates crime inside and outside of the place itself."
The concept of mapping crime and using statistical analysis has been embraced by academic researchers as well as law enforcement and private business. Police use the data to set patrols and recognize emerging trends as well as identify what places might be generating crime in an area.
"It's absolutely essential. What we do is use that data for strategic planning," said Orlando police Lt. Douglas Goerke. "Technology is so advanced now, we have the laptops in the vehicles now and we utilize that for response."
One of the emerging trends that is seen in safer neighborhoods, according to the data, is what researchers refer to as "management." Management is the level to which people in an area take ownership for preventing crime. This can be understood to include everything from neighborhood watch programs to residents willing to call in suspicious activity.
"It's a combination of what we do in those places, how it's managed, and also the characteristics of those places," said Moreto. "There is a strong correlation in how a place is managed and its crime rate."
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