LAKE WORTH — Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Todd Baer at Tuesday’s City Commission meeting gave his quarterly community policing report.
The good news: Crime is down 4.5 percent. Arrests are up 5.5 percent. The city saw decreases in reported robberies (107 to 79), burglaries (722 to 666) and vehicle thefts (103 to 87). Non-violent crimes were down 6.8 percent.
The bad news: A big spike in drug overdoses in July and August.
There have been 220 overdoses in the city from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31, with 45 of them fatal, Baer said.
“If we had 45 homicides, we’d probably have the National Guard here with us.” Baer said. “That’s quite a bit and it’s rising.”
There were 62 overdoses in July and 39 in August for a total of 101, Baer said. To put that in perspective, there were 119 overdoses for the first six months of the year.
Of the 62 overdoses in July, 8 were fatal. There were four fatalities in August.
Baer said the data is somewhat skewed since many of those who overdosed are repeat offenders.
“We’ve had people who overdosed more than once in one day,” Baer said.
He also noted how the sheriff’s office doesn’t always get overdose calls.
“(When Palm Beach County)Fire Rescue comes out and if (the victims) are not combative, we don’t get called,” Baer said.
Baer also touched on the city’s partnership with Assistant State Attorney Christy Rogers. About 10 months ago, the city arranged to have Rogers assigned to Lake Worth.
“This is one of the best things that’s happened since I’ve been here,” Baer said.” She works all our cases…she knows now who the bad guys are. We can arrest a guy 10, 12 times a year and it would go to 10 or 12 different state attorneys.”
Baer said Rogers is focusing on repeat offenders and helping the city with prostitution.