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DeLand Crime Rate Higher than National and Florida Average

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” -- Benjamin Franklin

DeLand‘s crime rate is higher than Florida’s average crime rate and much higher than the national average. DeLand crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 11 years with violent crime decreasing and property crime increasing. Based on this trend the 2013 crime rate for DeLand is expected to be higher than in 2010.[1]

       In 2013 the crime rate for DeLand proclaimed frighteningly that its residents are only 8% safer than cities of similar sizes in the United States. "With a crime rate of 52 per one thousand residents, DeLand has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes - from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One's chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 19. Within Florida, more than 84% of the communities have a lower crime rate than DeLand. Importantly, when you compare DeLand to other communities of similar population, then DeLand crime rate (violent and property crimes combined) is quite a bit higher than average. Regardless of how DeLand does relative to all communities in America of all sizes, when NeighborhoodScout compared it to communities of similar population size, its crime rate per thousand residents stands out as higher than most."[2]

        DeLand’s violent crime rate in 2010 was higher than the national average by 35.73%. Its property crime rate was higher than the national average by 66.27%. In 2010 DeLand’s violent crime rate was higher than the violent crime rate in Florida by 1.02% with DeLand’s property crime rate higher than Florida’s property crime rate by 37.46%.[3] Crime dropped 4.7% statewide in 2013 with little change in DeLand.[4]

        Police reports over the past few years indicate the “majority” are traffic violations, the easiest form of police action. Though there are good police within the force, there is much wrong. Chief Ridgeway “forgot” about the numerous complaints regarding a pain clinic on Plymouth Avenue repeatedly reported by employees at the Metabolic Research Center. Police refused to take fingerprints on a car whose glass top and side door were smashed. Police refused to investigate a drug house until repeated requests and the threat of contacting the FBI. These are but a few egregious situations.[5]

        Volusia County is notorious for meth lab busts but few occur in DeLand. A professor at Stetson asked his students what DeLand would be like without the college; the stark reply, “A meth lab.” University Terrace residents twice requested a gun buy back by the police and twice were ignored by Chief Ridgeway.[6]

        Many of DeLand’s police are dangerous. May 8, 2013 Officer Justin Ferrari joined the pursuit on profiled Marlon Brown, an African American, whom a county deputy “thought” he saw driving without a seatbelt. Really? At midnight worried about someone “allegedly” not wearing a seatbelt? Ferrari was called for backup and roared into action, giving violent chase. Brown jumped from his car and ran into a garden to hide. In a zealous rage Officer James Harris thundered around Ferrari’s car, smashed into Brown, and killed him. Harris eventually was fired but exonerated by the state’s attorney. Then the medical examiner ruled his death “traumatic homicide” but the county chief medical examiner overruled him, took over the investigation and claimed his death accidental. And the first medical examiner was fired.[7] We label Marlon Brown’s death “Vehicular Lynching.”[8]

        “A group of DeLand police, headed by retired DeLand police sergeant, James Jusick, said any other officer could be in Harris' shoes. Jusick, who raffled off an AR-15 rifle to raise money for Harris' legal fees, said the DeLand Police Department should never have fired him.”[9] The by-line for a News-Journal editorial stated, “Police need to show restraint.”[10]

        Another News-Journal editorial claimed, “Public probe was needed in DeLand.” The editorial went on to state: “Citizens also need to see how the laws are interpreted and enforced, especially in cases where secrecy can breed suspicion and distrust of authorities.”[11]

        State Attorney R.J. Larizza’s decision to take the investigation of Brown’s death to a grand jury is indicative of a state employee in bed with the police. Larizza proclaims he is a friend of the police! What about being the FRIEND OF JUSTICE?

        DeLand police heaped additional outrage on the incident. When Krystal Brown, Marlon Brown’s former wife, and their children, asked Chief Ridgeway in a public hearing to request a coroner’s inquest into Brown’s death, making the process and findings public, Ridgeway refused.[12] Brown’s request was supported with over 1,000 signatures on the petition. Are the police repressing evidence or simply racist or both?

        Evidently racist according to the News-Journal’s article “Neighbors call police after KKK leaves recruitment fliers in DeLand.” DeLand police Sergeant Chris Estes stated, “The distribution of the fliers is a constitutionally protected freedom of speech and they contain no content of a criminal nature and there is no investigation.”[13] Isn’t hate speech not only a crime but also unconstitutional?

        Michael Lambert honked at DeLand Detective Christopher Jusick as Jusick’s car idled way too long after a traffic light changed to green. Jusick called in additional manpower to give Lambert a citation for “impolite honking.” Lambert demanded a court hearing but Jusick refused to appear even though subpoenaed. Chief Ridgeway did nothing; the officer ignored a subpoena and no one cared! Ignoring a subpoena is illegal yet Ridgeway stood silent.[14]

        Both Jusick and Ferrari were deeply involved in the RAID on ARK, and like Sanchez, Realander, and Adair, are typical of those hired by city hall. Adair, in fact, inappropriately signs his city emails “Fideli Certa Merces” which in the Marine Corps means “To the faithful there is certain reward.” Does Adair think the city should be run like the Marine Corps? Or maybe it already is and that’s part of DeLand’s problem?

        DeLand police are trigger-finger happy. At a crowded convenience store an officer fired at a car heading toward him rather than jump out of the way. Though no innocent by-standers were hit both the driver and passenger were shot. The crime: Shoplifting at a busy gas station. A dozen gunshots were fired to stop two petty thieves as the police endangered the lives of dozens of others.[15]

        Florida leads the nation in federal public corruption convictions between 2000 and 2010. Even the New York Times calls Florida a “hothouse for corruption.” Taxpayers to end corruption are calling for a political change at City Hall, for open budgets, fair access to public office, open contracts, and open data.[16] Though no public figure in DeLand has yet to be accused of corruption, evidence indicates by the way the city is run that DeLand could easily fall into this category - if it’s not already happened. DeLand could afford a massive new police station costing millions yet the city finds it impossible to drastically reduce crime. It’s not a user-friendly building either; locked up so tight it’s impossible to meet someone face to face, assuring officers can slip in and out unobserved.

        DeLand’s crime rate is higher than the national average yet city staff raided a life-saving entity costing taxpayers over $20,000, led to the death of several animals, and attempted to ruin a community leader’s reputation. City staffers wasted valuable time and public funds on a Machiavellian act yet City Hall is unable to reduce DeLand’s crime rate.

        Indeed, priorities are skewed dangerously in DeLand Florida.

[3] “DeLand urged to work on crime,” West Volusia Beacon, 4.19.12

[4] “State crime dropped 4.7% in 2013,” News-Journal, 4.24.14

[5] DeLand residents remain anonymous for fear of retaliation

[6] Email to Officer Rod Hancock to forward to Ridgeway from University Terrace Residents, 4.12.13

[7] “FDLE ‘reviews’ Brown complaint,” News-Journal, 10.30.13

[9] “Family fights uphill battle for criminal charges against cop who killed DeLand man,” Orlando Sentinel, 10.13.13

[10] “Police need to show restraint,” News-Journal , 8.30.13

[11] “Public probe was needed in DeLand,” News-Journal, 9.30.13

[12] “Police, Spring Hill community hosts forum,” West Volusia Beacon, 3.17.14

[13] “Neighbors call police after KKK leaves recruitment fliers in DeLand,” News-Journal, 1.1.13

[14] “Lawyer Michael Lambert tries to take cop to court for ticketing him,” News-Journal, 5.20.13

[15] “Police try to identify 2 men in DeLand-officer shooting,” News-Journal, 10.22.13

[16] “Cleaning up government a priority,” News-Journal, 9.15.13

Chief William Ridgeway

DeLand's Expensive Police Station