TAMPA, Florida (AP) - State officials say Florida's overall crime rate dropped by 3.8 percent in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year. But murders and forcible sex offenses increased slightly.
Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey announced the figures Thursday in Tampa.
Robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and larcenies all declined.
Florida's murder rate, though, increased by 1.5 percent including an 8.2 percent rise in murders committed with firearms.
Forcible sex offenses, including rape, sodomy and fondling, also increased by 1.5 percent. That includes a 40 percent increase in rapes committed using firearms although they accounted for only 73 of the 2,684 total.
Overall domestic violence dropped 5.4 percent, but domestic violence murders increased by 30 percent and forcible rapes by 7 percent.