Press Releases

Hastings Urges Governor Scott to Better Track Instances of Animal Cruelty

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Fort Lauderdale, April 11, 2017 | comments

(Fort Lauderdale, FL) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) led a letter to Governor Rick Scott urging him to adopt the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which will better track instances of animal cruelty in Florida, including neglect, torture, organized abuse, and sexual abuse. The NIBRS is an alternative to the Summary Reporting System (SRS) currently used by Florida’s state law enforcement agencies. The NIBRS is superior to the SRS in a number of ways. For example, the SRS provides only an aggregate monthly tally of crimes, whereas the NIBRS captures highly detailed information on each incident of crime, thus providing a much deeper understanding of the victims, offenders, and circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime.  FBI Director James Comey has set as a goal achieving 100 percent NIBRS compliance by 2020.

Joining Hastings’ as co-signers of the letter are: Reps. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Charlie Crist (D-FL), and Darren Soto (D-FL).  (Please find below and attached a copy of the letter):

April 11, 2017

The Honorable Rick Scott
Governor
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
 
Dear Governor Scott:
 
         We write in regards to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which has begun collecting detailed data from participating law enforcement agencies on acts of animal cruelty, including gross neglect, torture, organized abuse, and sexual abuse. 
 
         The NIBRS is an alternative to the Summary Reporting System (SRS) currently used by Florida’s state law enforcement agencies. The NIBRS is superior to the SRS in a number of ways. For example, the SRS provides only an aggregate monthly tally of crimes, whereas the NIBRS captures highly detailed information on each incident of crime, thus providing a much deeper understanding of the victims, offenders, and circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime.  FBI Director James Comey has set as a goal achieving 100 percent NIBRS compliance by 2020.
 
         The NIBRS also captures data on more categories of crime than the SRS. For example, as advocates for family and animal welfare, it is particularly important to us that the NIBRS collects data on incidents of animal neglect, torture, and organized and sexual abuse against animals.
 
         As documented by researchers and published in academic journals, including the Journal of Family Violence, the Journal of Law and Social Deviance, the Child Abuse Review, and the Journal of Community Health, there is a strong correlation between animal cruelty and human violence recognized around the globe.
 
         A statistical study published in the Journal of Community Health in 2005, identified that animal abuse is an important predictor of domestic violence. Furthermore, a 2001-2004 study by the Chicago Police Department revealed that, of those arrested for crimes committed against animals, 65 percent had been arrested for battery against people as well.
 
         Considering there were 51,425 domestic violence offences reported by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement between January and June of 2016, it is in the interest of the state to report, investigate, and prosecute incidents of animal abuse to mitigate crime and protect our communities.
 
         It is important to note that the National Sheriffs’ Association has been a leading advocate for adding animal cruelty as a data set in the Bureau’s collection of crime statistics.  
 
         The detailed NIBRS data will help in guiding strategies for intervention and law enforcement. Therefore, it is our sincere hope that you will take into serious consideration our request. We stand ready to assist in whatever way that we can to help implement this critically important database. 
 
Sincerely,

Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress

Frederica S. Wilson
Member of Congress

Ted Deutch
Member of Congress

Charlie Crist
Member of Congress

Darren Soto
Member of Congress


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