Orange County sees significant drop in murders in 2012

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County saw a 15 percent drop in 2012 with 76 murders compared to the 89 in 2011.

Orange County sheriff's homicide detectives worked fewer than 50 murders in 2012, including the areas of Orlando, Ocoee, Eatonville and Apopka.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office has intensified efforts to get guns off the streets and to keep a close watch on members of violent street gangs. It's all part of a countywide effort to curb homicides and violent crime.

The perception that killings were out of control in Orange County were likely intensified by a series of high-profile killings in 2012 that included the Trayvon Martin case, several people killed in a Casselberry salon and the murder of two Winter Park High School students along the Cady Way Trail, authorities said.

But with the decrease in homicides, authorities hope residents can rest a little easier.

"We hope it assures citizens that we are out there every day," said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

Homicide detectives said there's no way to predict what next year will look like, but overall, they like the downward trend and believe focusing on areas like domestic violence has a direct impact on the number of murders.