TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Many business owners in Ybor City say their concerns about crime started long before October’s mass shooting. They described issues to members of the Tampa Police Department during a town hall meeting on Tuesday.
Police Chief Lee Bercaw is adamant the area is safe despite the shooting that killed two and injured 16 others.
“What happened that night was an isolated incident that literally erupted in seconds,” he said.
Community members said crime is common in the near 7th Avenue. One bar manager responded to Bercaw, “Isolated incident, that’s how you said, you sir, are badly informed.”
During the town hall, Bercaw listened to concerns and answered some questions but didn’t provide any clarity about the solutions under consideration for the area. However, he did give an update about the search for seven persons-of-interest in the deadly mass shooting.
“We have received numbers tips, great tips from the community, our detectives are following up on great leads, but, we want to continue. The word is out, if you have something or have heard something or even something so minute, still call us and let us know,” he said.
Local families say they should be in this situation and are calling for a youth curfew throughout Ybor City. One community member said, “Shouldn’t be children under the age of 18 in Ybor City after midnight.” Another said, “There’s people that are hanging out, they’re spending time on 7th because they are running back to their cars, they’re partying in the parking lots.”
Tampa City Council members are considering the idea of a youth curfew. It is unclear when the council will make a final decision about the proposed safety measure.