Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Rolando Silva, the new commander of the PBSO’s District 8 substation in Wellington, highlighted enforcement activity during the past six months to the Wellington Village Council on Tuesday. It was Silva’s first report to the council since replacing Capt. Jay Hart as District 8 commander in March.
“It’s important to note that this is the 20th year that the sheriff’s office has been providing law enforcement services to the village,” he said. “We’re very proud of that fact.”
Silva said the good news is that crime is down overall in the village, based on internal statistics. The official Uniform Crime Report published by the FBI will be available Aug. 23.
“We have done our own analysis to do the semiannual report, and you can see that the total crimes against persons is down to 232 from 240,” he said. “That is not a great number as far as reduction, but what’s really nice to see is that crimes against property have gone down from 888 the same first six months of the year in 2015, compared to 666 for the first six months of this year.”
Silva added that shoplifting is down about 30 percent and theft in general is down almost 50 percent. Burglary to vehicles and residences are down about 40 percent. Embezzlement and fraud crimes are up slightly. “We’re working on those cases, but you can see that, in general, the trend is going in the right direction,” he said.
Crimes against the state were also down, with felonies down from 17 in the first six months of 2015 to nine in 2016. Drug cases were down from 104 in 2015 to 37 in 2016. Non-crime related cases, such as vehicle stops and crashes, were up slightly.
“Our traffic stops continue to hover at around 1,000 a month on average,” Silva said, explaining that the department is giving more warnings than citations. “Instead of writing citations, which are getting very, very expensive, we are dealing with people on an individual basis. If a written warning is appropriate or a verbal warning, we don’t mind doing that. We want to educate our residents and get them to comply with the traffic laws. We certainly don’t want to be overly punitive with some of these citations.”
Juvenile burglaries, predominantly by youth within the village, and burglaries by people from out of the county by organized groups targeting the village, continue to be a problem that the department has been actively addressing, he said.