Truth About Palm Bay and Victimization: A Letter From the Chief of Police

By  //  March 28, 2016

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Mark Renkens

Palm Bay Police Chief Mark Renkens reports that crime in the city’s overall index crimes are down 9.1 percent for 2015. (Palm Bay police image)

BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – As chief of police, I am often asked: “Is Palm Bay a safe place to live or work?” I always give the same general answer, pointing out that Palm Bay has one of the fastest growing populations in Brevard County and in Florida, with a recent a population estimate of just more than 110,000.

One would think that with a growing population comes an increase in crime, however, that has not been the case in Palm Bay. While other communities and cities across Florida are reporting upticks in crime, Palm Bay’s overall index crimes were down 9.1 percent for 2015.

Additionally, according to the Uniform Crime Report statistics, of the 21 cities in Florida with populations topping 100,000, Palm Bay is consistently listed as one of the top five safest cities.

Although I consider Palm Bay to be a safe and wonderful place to live and work, it is still possible to become a victim of a crime. It is important to remember that we are the custodians of our safety and something as simple as always locking your doors and keeping valuables out of sight will greatly decrease your chances of becoming a victim.

Most auto burglaries occur from unlocked cars as the thief simply tries the door, finds it unlocked, and shops around for any items of value. In most cases, they will only break a window to get inside your car when something of value is in plain sight. This could include a purse, a gun, keys or expensive electronics.

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Ideally, don’t keep these items in your car at all. If they must remain in the vehicle, however, make sure they cannot be seen.

The same goes for your home or apartment; lock your doors, leave a light on or some indication that someone is home, let it be known that the home has a video and/or burglar alarm system, place signs that state “beware of dog.”

If you are a single person living alone, place a pair of used men’s work boots at the front door. The idea is to make the burglar believe that someone may be home and his or her chances of being detected are high so they think twice before breaking into your home.

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In addition to simple precautions, it is also lifestyle choices that dramatically increase or decrease our chances of becoming a victim of a crime. The easiest way to avoid becoming a victim is to not involve yourself in a high-risk lifestyle.

High-risk lifestyle choices include involvement in illicit drug use or sales, belonging to a gang, involvement in prostitution, drinking excessively, living with someone who is violent or has violent tendencies, involvement with strangers online and agreeing to meet them alone.

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These are all examples of behavior that put you at the greatest risk of becoming part of our crime statistics. Simply put, be aware of what is going on around you.

By being proactive in your personal safety and making smart choices, you can help us continue to show everyone that Palm Bay is a safe community and a great place to live.

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