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Numbers show homicides up in Orange County

46 slain in county so far in 2016, Sheriff Jerry Demings says

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orange County Sheriff's office dug into stats at its annual Crime Summit.

Officials said that homicides are up 35 percent year-to-date. There have been 46 so far this year. Sheriff Jerry Demings said the uptick is not indicative of a larger issue, but mostly typical drug-related crimes or domestic disputes.

"Some of the things we see with the drug trade, illegal drug trade, that is. It's wrapped in crimes of passion as well, so that's fueling the numbers we see in our community," Demings said.

Almost every other crime was down, sheriff's officials said.

Robberies dropped 15 percent and residential burglaries dropped 12 percent.

However, the county is seeing a jump in auto burglaries, which are up 30 percent since last year.

Heroin overdoses also continue to be a major problem. 

"The good news is that even though the overall number of overdoses are up in Orange County, the number of heroin-related overdoses in unincorporated Orange County are actually down," he said.
 
Paramedics are also now armed with narcan, which Demings said has helped save more lives in heroin overdoses.

The sheriff also touched on terrorism, including the Pulse nightclub attack. He said his agency relies on citizens to report suspicious activity, but also are training and using technology and teamwork between agencies to intercept.

In drug crimes, he credited high-profile drug busts on cutting down on the incidents.

Demings also said the Sheriff's Office continues to  need the help of ordinary people to be active in their own communities
 
Another step in combating crime will be a massive hiring effort. The Sheriff's Office wants to hire 200 deputies by the end of 2017.