The average crime in Lexington

A strictly academic comparative study on big city vs. small town police


The Lexington Police Department is on Fuller Street. Photo by Jess Kishbaugh, ’24.

Hyatt Sbar

It was a stale Monday evening in downtown Lexington. Pale blue moonlight bounced off of the colonnade. The town appeared dead from Officer Sugma’s car parked outside of Sweet Treats. It was too quiet for 9:15 p.m., and Officer Sugma could feel the tension growing. Then, he appeared out of thin air- one 18-year-old freshman boy walking back to the Graham-Lees dorms. Officer Sugma’s heart picked up. He could sense that something was wrong, terribly wrong. The freshman had made a fatal error- his shoe was untied. Officer Sugma started sweating. This was the most exciting thing that had happened to him in his 24 years on the force. He shakily radioed dispatch: “10-4 dispatch, I have a juvenile delinquent clearly drunk and actively disturbing the peace. I need backup as soon as possible. He looks dangerous.” Officer Sugma got out and tackled him to the ground, then tazed him for good measure. Sugma methodically pulled out his breathalyzer, trying desperately to remember the only thing the academy taught him. “Uhh… blow here I think.” The detained child blew a 0.0000001 BAC. “I got you, son of a b*tch. You will never walk drunk through my town.” Officer Sugma took him to jail where he would later lobby for the death sentence; however, to his dismay, the freshman was only given five mandatory hours of community service. For his valor, the Lexington Police Department awarded Officer Sugma a regional medal of valor, a medal of bravery, and a purple heart. 

The situation described above is a narrative I concocted based off of the average crime committed in Lexington. You see, I’m from a state commonly referred to as “Flawda.” Legend of “the crazy Florida man” stretches around the globe. So, when I came to Lexington, I was surprised that the only things police do are write tickets for going 1 mph over the limit and arrest drunk teenagers. Those of you that grew up in smaller towns probably aren’t familiar with big city police or just don’t believe “the Florida man” stories, so I’m sure the police behavior here in Lexington feels normal. To illustrate the paradox, I will share some of my experiences with police back home. 

First, on my way back from a bar at 3 a.m. in downtown Tampa, I watched five police officers hold a homeless man at gunpoint. Why? Well, he had a piece of pizza in one hand and a broadsword in the other. He refused to give it up on the grounds that it “was his constitutional right to bear arms.” It wasn’t a machete, or a large knife. The dude was holding a huge, medieval broadsword. The thing looked like a relic and was three feet long. He really wasn’t bothering anyone either; I think he did it just because he could. I was kind of drunk, so I found it hysterical. The cops tazed him from a distance, which didn’t even make him flinch (usually a tell tale sign that someone is on meth). When they finally subdued him and took his sword, he asked the now-gathered crowd around him to call his lawyer. I feel like it goes without saying that we didn’t know his lawyer or how to contact him. Oh, I almost forgot a key detail- his clothing, which was a thin piece of cloth around his genitals. 

The second event happened in Ybor city, which is a ten minute drive from my house. Let me explain Ybor. 

1.) Crime rate 955% higher than the national average (that is a real statistic). 

2.) Situated on a port where thousands of container ships enter and leave every month. One of the human trafficking capitals of the world. 

3.) Statistically 1-in-8 chance of being the victim of a violent crime. 

4.) Ybor is famous for having stray chickens wander around. (This doesn’t have anything to do with crime. I just thought it was funny.)

In short, a semi-gentrified neighborhood that is not quite ready to become yuppy and safe. Anyway, I had just picked up a friend who had too much to drink at a party and was taking him back to his house. It was 11:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. (Don’t judge my friend. It was summer.) I stop at a red light near an empty intersection. As I go to change the song, I hear yelling and instinctively look up only to see a man in a banana costume sprinting across the intersection pursued by one police officer. As they disappeared out of sight to my right, I turned around to make sure my buddy saw it and I wasn’t going insane. He was passed out. I turned back and ran the red light. I have not been to Ybor since. 

Some honorable mentions- watched police pull a man off of an already incapacitated and very large alligator. Watched police politely ask a crackhead to stop doing cartwheels in the park. Watched police chase an armed robber while I was stuck in traffic on the opposite side of the street. 

Yes, it is annoying that the cops in Lexington are such sticklers about driving and walking through town drunk; however, I get it. That’s all they need to do. If you ever feel upset, tired, or discouraged, just remember that it could always be worse- you could be a police officer in The Greater Tampa Bay Area.