2ND MOST DANGEROUS PLACE TO TRICK-OR-TREAT???
Many of you may have seen this story that NBC-2 News reporter Joseph Ojo reported on last night about a security alarm website that ranked Punta Gorda as the 2nd "most dangerous metro area" for trick-or-treating IN THE NATION! At first we thought this was some kind of Halloween trick. Then, like many of our residents, we asked ourselves, "How could that possibly be accurate?" Well, as it turns out, it's not. We just wanted to set the record straight with some real facts.
The website claims that they used 4 criteria in their rankings: the number of sex offenders compared to the number of residents, the number of violent crimes in 2016, the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities in 2016, and the percentage of the population that was between the ages of 5 and 14 in 2016.
SEX OFFENDERS: There are currently only 2 registered sex offenders that reside in the City of Punta Gorda. That would make the ratio of sex offenders to residents 1 registered sex offender for every 9,398 residents.
VIOLENT CRIMES: In 2016, there were 12 violent crimes reported in the City of Punta Gorda and our index crime rate was the 2nd lowest in SW Florida and 2nd lowest in the State of Florida for cities our size.
PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES: In 2016, there were NO traffic fatalities involving pedestrians. Of the 567 total traffic crashes reported that year, only 9 involved pedestrians and no serious injuries of pedestrians were reported.
POPULATION: The 2016 American Community Survey, which is the source cited by the website, showed that there were only an estimated 340 residents in the City of Punta Gorda between the ages of 5 and 14. That would be less than 2% of the estimated population from that same report. The median age of residents in Punta Gorda is 66 years old.
We do have a large number of children that come to Punta Gorda from all over Southwest Florida every Halloween to trick-or-treat. Halloween is one of the largest events that we handle as a police department every year and has been for many years. As always, we will be in the Historic District in full force providing security, traffic control, and interacting with the kids to make sure that everyone has a FUN and SAFE Halloween!
The link below no longer works, but the video of the story can still be viewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvQZqfKQC8A