Traffic stops number 1 in Longboat
Longboat Key police have investigated one robbery this year, the first such incident on the island in five years, according to a compilation of town crime reports.
The robbery was an anomaly on the island, where the bulk of police calls are for routine traffic stops, public-service calls and assisting Longboat Key Fire-Rescue with its calls.
“We have an older, affluent population,” Police Chief Pete Cumming said, explaining how the town's crime statistics have remained mostly unchanged each year since 2014.
The armed robbery occurred in April 10 at the Islander Club of Longboat on Gulf of Mexico Drive.
A visiting couple had dinner at a Bradenton restaurant and stopped at Wal-Mart on the return drive home. Cumming said the robbers spotted them at the store and followed them back to Longboat Key, where they tried to steal their Mercedes, but couldn't figure out how to put the luxury car in gear.
The robbers got away with a $35,000 watch, cash and credit cards. A chase through Sarasota County ended in Manatee County with the arrest of one suspect. Two others escaped but were arrested a month later.
Latarious Harvey of Bradenton was immediately charged with a variety of offenses and faces trial in March 2019
U.S. Marshals arrested Travis D. Cooper, 26 of the Bahamas, and Eric D. Dudley, 27 of Bradenton in May. Cooper faces trial in January and Dudley faces trial in March.
The robbery with firearm charges, which apply to all three, are punishable by life in prison.
“It was a good case for us,” Cumming said. “I am proud of these guys.”
The department’s 19 full and part-time officers answered 4,125 calls in 2017 in 68 categories, down nearly 1,000 – or 18% - from the prior year’s total of 5,013 calls.
Traffic enforcement and accident statistics remained generally consistent, reflecting population swings on the island, he said. Full 2018 statistics will not be available until January, Cumming said.
Last year the number of traffic stops and crash investigations investigated by Longboat police came to 1,498, compared with 1,074 for the same period in 2016, a 39% decline. There were 285 public service calls, up 30 from 255 in 2016.
The department responded to 580 burglar alarms at both homes and businesses, a 4.3% drop from the prior year. Cumming said the department’s marine enforcement division had 279 calls last year, a 34% decrease from 2016. Marine enforcement calls included lifesaving, disabled boaters and vessel inspections.
There were 28 vandalism and trespassing incidents in 2017, up from 16 reported in 2016.
Home Security Advisor, a national home security company, recently ranked Longboat Key its fifth-safest city in Florida for towns with a population of 5,000 or higher. This is the 10th year in a row that Longboat, which has 7,000 permanent residents, made the security company’s list.
Longboat Key Police Calls
Rescue (assisting fire)