Stalking crimes up 133% in 2024 over 2023, Flagler Sheriff says

Overall, Sheriff Rick Staly said, in a year-to-date comparison to 2023, most crimes are down in 2024. And crime in 2023 was down 50% since 2017.

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly. Photo by Sierra Williams
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly. Photo by Sierra Williams
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Crime is down 50% since 2017, according to data from the Flagler County Sheriff's Office's 2023 report. 

Sheriff Rick Staly held the FCSO's seventh annual Addressing Crime Together community meeting on April 18. During the presentation, Staly gave a breakdown of the county's crime data in 2023 and what issues were trending so far in 2024. 

Overall, he said, most reported crimes have gone down.

"At the same time our population has really grown," Staly said. "...The growth is coming, which is going to impact all the infrastructure and obviously calls for service."

IN 2023

In 2022, 974 crimes were reported and just 919 were reported in 2023. But calls for service in both years sat at just over 120,000, up from 114,000 in 2021.

Crashes, Staly said, went down a little in 2023 from 2022, but not a lot. In total 2023 had 2,046 crashes without injury, 660 crashes with injury, 349 hit-and-run crashes without injury, 31 hit-and-runs with injury and 25 fatalities, according to data from the annual report.

"One of our biggest quality of life complaints that we have is traffic," Staly said. 

In response, Staly said, he increased the Motors Unit from five deputies to eight, and, since becoming Sheriff, has ensured that all patrol cars have radar devices and the deputies are trained to use them.

The biggest areas for traffic fatalities are on the county's state roads, Staly said, and Interstate 95 and the Old Kings Road and Palm Coast Parkway intersection have the most traffic incidents. 

He said he is working with the Florida Highway Patrols to get more troopers stationed in Flagler County.

"We need more people assigned to Flagler County," Staly said.

Another big issue in the county is property crime. Residential burglaries were up in 2023, but most of those were homes under construction, he said. Because of the way the laws are written, Staly said, thefts from these homes under construction have to be counted as residential burglaries. 

There were only 26 residential burglaries in 2023, but it is an increase over the 17 from 2022, the report said. There were 224 larcenies in Flagler County in 2023, down from 2021 and 2022.

Domestic violence cases have also increased since 2020, Staly said, when financial stressors and the lockdown mandates placed additional stresses on relationships. In 2022, there were 191 domestic violence cases and 213 in 2023. 


Palm Coast residents completed a National Community Survey in 2021. In that survey, 92% of residents said they felt safe in Palm Coast.

Residents also rated the FCSO's policing services, with 84% rating those services as good or excellent. For crime prevention, 82% of respondents rated that either good or excellent and 81% felt very or somewhat safe about property crime; 84%felt safe from violent crime.

"As I drive around the community, I can see that [people feel safe] because people are walking or bicycling or using our trails," Staly said. "And in areas where community doesn't feel safe, that doesn't happen."


Just five months into the year and Staly said the FCSO has seen a 133% increase in stalking charges and a 55% increase in violation of injunctions.

"My message to this is if you have an order by a judge, to stay away from the victim, you need to do that," Staly said. "Because if not, you're going to get arrested."

Fraud cases are also up slightly, by 4% in 2024, with 169 cases as of April 2024 compared to 162 cases from the same period in 2023.

But several other crimes have gone down compared to where they were this time in 2023. 

As of April 17, Staly said, these were the statistics in 2024 for several specific types of crimes: Assault and batteries, down 35%; domestic disturbances, down 4%; physical disturbances, down 44%; family-related disturbance with weapons, down 25%; sex offenses down 5%; robberies, down 50%.

Proactive programs and accreditation

Staly said he credits the success over the last year to proactive programs the Sheriff's Office has worked on. 

Deputies focus on areas where crime is trending, he said, and the FCSO makes sure to knock on doors for probationary releases, ensuring that the individual knows the FCSO is aware of them. 

The FCSO has also made use of technology-driven information gathering, using tools like rapid-ID, license plate readers and the Real Time Crime Center in coordination with deputies on patrol. 

In a week, Staly said, the FCSO reads about 1.5 million tags per week. In 2023, the tag readers helped locate six missing persons, 30 stolen vehicles and 18 stolen tags and led to the arrest of 29 fugitives, he said.

The FCSO also works to attain national and state-level accreditations.

Among those is the FCSO's four diamond accreditations, one each from  the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission, the Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission, the  Florida Tele-Communicators Accreditation Commission and the National Institute of Ethics. 

Staly said the FCSO is also working on receiving its fifth accreditation, for the county jail's medical by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.

"There are agencies in Florida that do not even have one accreditation, it's not required," he said. "There are agencies across the country that don't have even one. And your agency that serves you has four, about to have five, accreditations."

Staly said the FCSO also places a high priority on programs that help inmates turn their lives around. These programs include both work certification programs inside the jail and preventative programs for Flagler County's youth that may be going down the wrong path.

"While I like the law-and-order image of the sheriff," Staly said, "if we can help an inmate turn their life around so that they become productive citizens instead of costing the taxpayers money, that would be my preference."


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