Even criminals apparently like to celebrate Christmas and the Holidays.

Preliminary at least, it appears that typical holiday crimes, such as retail theft, car breaks-in or even domestic violence, remained steady or even declined.

Sgt. William Harrison, Port Orange Police PIO, acknowledged retail crime was lower, but there was a reason.

“We identified that in the past and added extra patrols and things. (Plus) notifications to lock your cars. We saw that need a couple of years ago and we worked to mitigate it,” Sgt. Harrison said. “We’ll have unmarked cars out and there and then we also have marked cars and do additional patrols. We didn’t see a large holiday spike like we did in the past, consistent with December in general.

“During the (actual) holidays there is an increase of certainly more verbal disturbances and they could escalate,” he said. “If you work a holiday, you know the morning is going to be quiet because everybody is being nice. As the night goes on, they remember that they don’t like each other and they start to argue. (Especially if alcohol is a factor) it just escalates from there, screaming and yelling. Hopefully people leave or they call us when it gets loud enough and we tell them to leave.”

He added retail stores have loss prevention personnel that prepare for the holiday season as well.

Andrew Gant, a spokesman for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, noted final numbers for holiday crime are not out yet. But using preliminary numbers, he provided some stats comparing the holiday time frame of Dec. 20 to Jan. 2 in 2020-21 and Dec. 19 to Jan. 1 in 2021-22.

During that time frame there were 33 domestic violence arrests in 2020-21 versus 49 in 2021-22. There were four larceny car break-ins in 2020-21 versus 14 in 2021-22. Shoplifting showed 9 in 2020-21 versus 7 in 2021-22.

“So it’s a small sample size, but it looks like we saw an increase in domestic violence and car breaks in that specific time frame compared to last year,” Mr. Gant said. “Overall for the year, though, all of those categories have declined. Domestic violence is down about 4%, car breaks are down 39% and shoplifting is down about 12%, all as of Dec. 4. The current CompStat report is at www.volusiasheriff.org/_/documents/CompStat-21-11.pdf.

In New Smyrna Beach, there was no statistically significant change. Though the percentages seem compelling, the small sample size creates a large numerical swing with a small deviation in reported crimes.

Specifically, Dec. 16 to Dec. 23, 2021, there were four cases of shoplifting, one car break-in and seven domestic violence cases. From Dec. 24, 2021, to Jan. 1, 2022, there were three cases of shoplifting, no car breakins and seven domestic violence cases.

So, New Smyrna Beach showed no change or a slight decline.

The City of Daytona Beach showed 15 larcenies committed between Dec. 24, 2021, and Jan. 1, 2022. From Dec. 1, 2021, to Dec. 23, 2021, 87 larcenies were committed within the city.

Numbers and trends from other police jurisdictions may or may not be similar, but it would appear holiday crime is certainly no worse than in other years, except for those directly affected by real life Grinches.

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