Recent Gun Violence Outbreak by Alina Lopez
Time and again we are heartbroken by the news of another gun violence incident that leave bloody marks in our community. I began writing this blog after the Memorial Day weekend shootings across our county, and as I was getting ready to submit the article, I woke up to the news of yet another shooting, this time in Kendall across from Miami Dade College. County records show an alarming rise in gun violence since 2016 with nearly 1 out of 4 victims being under the age of 21. Many times, these bullets hit unintended targets and innocent bystanders. Many times, these stray bullets strike a child. In the Kendall shooting, a correction officer became one of the victims to these senseless crimes.
The factors that contribute to this violence are a well-known fact, but finding solutions has proven to be quite a challenge. Why these shootings? What is causing this trend? These drive by shootings are often times gang related and/or drug related, like a turf war. There’s even some thought that these street wars stem from rap music and “trigger words” inciting this type of violence. No matter the cause, the violence needs to stop and law enforcement and local government are stepping up to the game.
The Kendall shooting occurred just days after a proactive approach, Operation Summer HEAT, rolled out to curtail these shootings. Launched on June 3 with the collaboration of elected officials, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, the State Attorney’s Office, code enforcement officers, and social media experts. This 12-week program will have changes to enforcement such as increased police presence and combing social media for any clues that point to future violent incidents of this nature. There will also be code enforcement teams addressing these illegally run-down businesses that may be a hot bed for crime and shutting them down. The State Attorney’s Office will also be sending their own staff to the crime scenes.
One crucial element to all of this work though is the public. There has always been hesitancy of some victims or witnesses to come forward with any information they may have about a crime, but this information may be key in solving these offenses. The State Attorney’s Office made it clear that there is assistance for any victims or witnesses who need protection application. It can be by putting them up in hotel rooms or moving them to other cities. If anyone has information about a crime that has occurred, contact Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477). Remember it is anonymous and confidential and you may be eligible for a reward. If you know of a crime that is going to occur, please call 911. Together we can all make a difference and assist in stopping these violent incidents from happening again.
Until next time, be aware, make good choices, and stay safe!
To contact Citizens’ Crime Watch, call 305-470-1670 or visit the website www.citizenscrimewatch.org.
Written By Alina Lopez