It so happens that Florida’s public records laws, also known as Sunshine Lawsmake it easier for journalists to obtain police incident reports and generate stories that grab readers’ attention.
The aforementioned laws allow journalists to easily submit a public record request and thus obtain information on different police incidents that are material for their articles.
Another theory highlights the fact that Florida is a large state, with a large number of inhabitants, which makes incidents more likely due to quantity. Added to this is that having a humid and hot climate, people spend more time outside their homes and therefore there are more chances that different events occur in public areas, or contexts in which they are easily exposed.
There is also the factor of mental health. That’s what Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, in St. Petersburg, Florida, alludes to in an article published in 2019 by CNN.
Florida has low funding dedicated to mental health. “It would be a mistake to think that Florida has a crazy crime rate; our violent crime rate is actually going down,” she said. And he added: “What is very high, however, is the mental health epidemic.”
He also pointed out that beyond the laughter that these headlines can generate, it is important to analyze if there is a bigger problem to attend to. In some cases, the incidents may be carried out by people who need help to deal with an adverse mental health situation, the expert in said article stressed.