Report Shows Crime Index Up Slightly In RPB, But Trending Lower

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council.

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council meeting on Thursday, May 16 featured the presentation of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s District 9 Annual Report by PBSO Capt. Ulrich Naujoks.

Naujoks attended the meeting along with criminal intelligence analyst Harry Hook and detective sergeant Eric Keith, who he introduced to the council.

“This will be my 11th year here. Since I first started here, I’ve watched the dramatic change in the geography and the makeup of the village. It has grown,” Naujoks said. “Traffic has grown, our developments have grown. We’ve added a lot of things… and I’d like to give credit to the men and women out there where the rubber meets the road. This job has gotten more dangerous than when I first started.”

While the overall crime rate in Royal Palm Beach remains very low, Naujoks expressed concerns over scams targeting the elderly. The crime index technically rose by one percent from last year, from 585 to 596. However, when compared to 10 years ago, the index is nearly half what it was in 2013.

The local Citizen Observer Patrol (COP) has 10 active members, but Naujoks would like to recruit more volunteers, and there is capacity for growth. In 2023, the COP put in 704 volunteer service hours for a value of $22,387.

While reviewing details of the crime statistics, Naujoks confirmed that the increase was primarily due to burglaries.

“Now for the cause of the spike in our burglaries — the dramatic percentage increase in burglaries within the village was caused by burglaries or attempted burglaries to storage units, all of which had their locks cut,” he explained, adding that 32, or 68 percent of the 47 business burglaries, were to storage units. “It’s considered a burglary even if entry is not made.”

Essentially, the PBSO counts the incident regardless of whether any property is stolen.

Naujoks encouraged residents and the council to read his newsletter coming out in June to see the strategic plan for District 9, which includes a revitalization of neighborhood watch programs.

In other business:

  • Councilwoman Jan Rodusky was recognized for her recent 2024 Home Rule Hero Award from the Florida League of Cities. Mayor Fred Pinto added that the National League of Cities is visiting 100 cities across the country, and Royal Palm Beach is part of that special bus tour.
  • Two requests by Public Art Professional Mario Lopez Pisani for a new piece of public art and to move the proposed location for the public art piece from inside the reflecting pool to the north end of the pool at Village Hall were approved. The artwork titled “Rooted” by artist Beth Nybeck is an 11-foot-tall sculpture that will include input directly from Royal Palm Beach residents prior to construction.
  • The council issued a proclamation for National Public Works Week, bringing attention to the importance of the service of public works employees to the community, contributing to its safety, health and quality of life.