PUBLISHED THURSDAY NOVEMBER 20, 1997
Copyright 1997 The Pensacola News Journal. All rights
Escambia sheriff disputes claims of crime reduction
By Amie K. Streater
News Journal staff writer
PENSACOLA - Brownsville Revival leaders claim the
revival has reduced crime in the Pensacola area.
Statistics and statements from the county 's top law enforcement
officer show otherwise.
The Escambia County Sheriff 's Office crimes and arrests
statistics show that crime actually rose in 1996 compared to 1995, the
year the revival began.
The actual number of crimes rose 3 percent, from 13,121
in 1995 to 13,502 in 1996. The data is for the seven index crimes tracked
by law enforcement nationwide: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault,
burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.
Escambia Sheriff Jim Lowman said he can 't see that the
revival has had a great impact on the crime figures.
"But if they make crime go away, we 'll give them all
the credit," he said.
Revival leaders have also claimed that law enforcement
officers are so impressed by the revival that on occasion they have hauled
suspects into the revival instead of taking them to jail.
That has never happened, Lowman said, and it simply could
not happen because it would be a violation of law enforcement procedure.
"If we have someone in custody, based on the statutes,
taking them to church, any church, is not an option," Lowman said.
"We don 't have any information that indicates we have
ever done that, nor has any other law enforcement agency."
Jerry Potts, Pensacola Police assistant chief, said that
a number of people have asked him if there is any truth to that story.
Potts said, emphatically, that none of his officers ever
took such action.
"We just don 't do that kind of thing," he said
Revival leaders have also claimed the revival is reducing
juvenile crime, and they point to crime data to prove their claim.
Law enforcement officials say that data tells only part
of the story.
The revival leaders are citing state figures for the number
of juveniles taken into custody, not the number of arrests or crimes for
which they were arrested.
Escambia Sheriff 's Office statistics show that juvenile
arrests almost doubled in 1996 compared to the year before, increasing
from 1,243 to 2,392.