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The Villages
Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Construction zone theft and DUI arrests on the rise in Wildwood

Construction zone theft and drunk driving arrests are on the rise in Wildwood.

These are the findings in the Annual Crime Report 2021 released by the Wildwood Police Department.

There were 24 driving under the influence arrests in Wildwood in 2021, up from 12 DUI arrests the previous year. That reflects a 100 percent increase.

The 2021 DUI arrests included:

A Village of Fenney woman in a golf cart who left Brownwood Paddock Square and stopped for a pee break in full view of a police officer. An inventory of the golf cart turned up two open bottles of Fireball whiskey, two open cans of Michelob Ultra beer and two unopened bottles of Platinum 7X Vodka, located in a cooler.

A DUI suspect who admitted he’d consumed “five or six shots of vodka” prior to a crash in downtown Wildwood.

A visitor from Iowa who was driving a golf cart and strayed across State Road 44. He later hired a high-priced lawyer and beat the DUI charge.

“Traffic related incidents make up the majority of the calls for service that our officers respond to. This is a good indicator that there are not that many more serious incidents occurring in the City of Wildwood,” said Police Chief Randy Parmer.

Construction site theft a problem at southern end of The Villages

Parmer said that the Wildwood Police Department’s Zone 5 is the zone with the second greatest number of criminal offenses in 2021. Zone 5 includes the southern end of The Villages.

“This zone is mainly made up of active construction zones,” Parmer said. “The city has experienced a significant increase in construction-related thefts due to the various construction projects underway in Zone 5.”

A Zone 5 map from the Wildwood Police Department shows where crimes have occurred.

A significant majority of the number of theft reports come from construction companies that have items taken from job sites overnight, the chief added.

Zone 5 experienced the following offenses:

one aggravated assault

three non-residential burglaries

three motor vehicle burglaries

seven residential burglaries

Wildwood’s downtown area sees the most crime

The downtown area of Wildwood experienced the greatest number of criminal offenses in 2021.

“This zone is made up of the downtown area in which there is a lot of residential mobility – residents come to/go from the downtown area to do shopping and business. In many cities, the downtown areas tend to be the central location in which much of a city’s criminal offenses occur, which is comparable to the City of Wildwood,” Parmer said.

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