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Crime trends in Lee County

point/ counterpoint

July 4, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

Now, I am offended. You should be, too.

Throughout the political process of running for sheriff, I have focused on the issues that are present before us all. When the Lee County sheriff spoke on June 29, 2012, he made the comment, "... We all know where the violent crime

is occurring; that's no secret. We all know 99 percent of it is black-on-black crime in the Dunbar area code 33916" (Fox 4 News, June 29, 2012). I take great exception to that. It is totally unacceptable.

Let me impress that criminals don't follow zip codes - like we saw with the wild west gun brawl on Colonial Boulevard the other day. Criminals don't follow imaginary "jurisdictional" boundaries posted somewhere. They don't focus on skin color.

Criminals take advantage of opportunity and circumstance.The leadership of the sheriff's office has taken a stance that crime in any municipality is not the problem of the sheriff. Really? It appears the sheriff has written off Fort Myers,

Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Bonita Springs.

The sheriff's comment that black-on-black crime seems like he is insinuating that somehow black-on-black violence is ok. I am mortified that anyone suggests that because a portion of violence or killings occurs by a certain ethnicity that it is permissible and dismissed without a second thought. We are in this together. The sheriff obviously does not see it this way. I don't see color. I see humans with hearts. I see families. I see people.

Moreover, the Lee County sheriff's comments are exactly the type of divisive opinions that tear a community apart. Violent crime is up in Lee County both last year and this year. It was before the recent shooting war, and it's only gotten worse. The Uniform Crime Reports show that there is a very significant increase in violent crime in our county. The sheriff has failed us. He has failed the lower and middle-class who do not have the protection of gates and security personnel running around in cars all night. The sheriff has abandoned the lower- and middle-income families of Lee County and is focused only on protecting those that have the riches and power to further his agenda.

Violence is not ok. Drug related killings are not ok. Regardless of where it occurs in Lee County, as your sheriff, I will fight such violence.

Black violence, White violence, Hispanic violence - it's devastating to all of humanity. For the sheriff of Lee County to dismiss Black violence as ok is insulting and demeaning to all of us. To relegate the violence to a neighborhood and condone it is horrible. It's downright malicious and intolerable.

Daily, I read of shootings and killings in the paper. Crime is up. It's a fact. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the effect of violent crime on our neighborhoods. In fact, it is a matter of time before it lands on our doorsteps. The sheriff's plan to protect the rich and powerful has not only destroyed the safety of the lower and middle-class, it will soon spread over and under those gates soon. Do the rich and powerful really think they are unreachable by criminals of all skin colors who are focused on bringing crime and misery to their quiet community? I hope not, because they aren't. No one is safe from crime under this sheriff.

I want safe neighborhoods for Black, Hispanic and White and every other community. I want safety and prosperity for us all. We are Americans. We deserve it.

Wake up, sheriff. We are all human. It's not about color or zip codes. It's about humanity and quality of life. Soon, our tourism industry will be negatively impacted. And if we think the great recession hit us hard, when crime forces travelers to stop visiting and retirees to stop moving, we all will be in for a boat-load of economic misery. It's time to move on sheriff, you have done far too much damage already.

Lee Bushong

NPA candidate for sheriff

Lehigh Acres

To the editor:

It has come to my attention that a political opponent has issued yet another inaccurate interpretation of crime rates and trends in Lee County. I recently stated what everyone already knowsthe predominance of murder and shooting is occurring within the City limits of Fort MyersI am not sure if many or any disagree with this fact. I have met and spoken with Chief Baker and other city leaders regarding these realities and my team and I are working closely with FMPD. Still, our county like nearly all others is broken out into jurisdictional areas of primary responsibility when it comes to Fire and Police protection and stark trends within those jurisdictions must be considered.

The mid-year crime statistics should be out in a couple of weeks; however, I have attached a snapshot through May 31st that clearly reflects what political foes do not want to acknowledgeTotal non-violent and total violent crime is down in unincorporated Lee County. At the exact same time my budget is down $21.5 million dollars; further demonstrating fiscal responsibility while holding the line on crime. It is no wonder political foes want to distort the bottom lines.

I think everyone knows that I care about Lee County despite inflammatory rhetoric to the contrarylet me know if you need further clarification on the message you received from a candidate who received 19 votes of the 154 cast last week at a Cape Chamber straw poll.

Sheriff Mike Scott

Lee County



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