TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa’s interim police chief is once again addressing gun violence in the city.
He sat down with people in the community for the second of several forums Monday night.
Community members shared a number of ideas and possibilities with the interim police chief to tackle crime, from more surveillance in the city to programs to get guns off the street.
Isaiah Brooks was shot and killed in Ybor City on Feb. 6, 2005. He was five blocks away from home. His father Elliott Saunders says this past weekend was emotional for the family.
“We laid back but it didn’t stop us from being here today,” Brooks said. “Because his case is not solved is why we do this.”
Saunders is like many parents and community members searching for a solution to gun violence in Tampa, like LaMaria Smith.
“When you lose someone you’re still numb,” Smith said.
Her daughter Savannah Mathis was shot and killed this past December. Police have made an arrest in that case. Smith’s gone to both community forums, trying to set an example.
“If I don’t come out and support I can’t complain about change,” Smith said. “If you want change, show up, be that change.”
There have been nine 9 homicides so far this year in Tampa. There were 48 all of last year.
However, Tampa’s Interim Police chief Delgado says violent crime is down 10% in the last four months, and officers responded to 15 fewer shootings this January compared to last January. He says the department still wants ideas from the community. They’ll take those ideas and create an action plan to combat the problem.
“One shooting affects a family, they don’t want to hear about 10% reduction rate, so there’s still work to do,” Delgado said.
Parents like Saunders say talk is good, but they want results.
“Let’s start getting cases solved and guns off the streets, which they are, but Tampa is not the place for eight murders in January,” Saunders said.
Interim Chief Delgado says the forums help, but they still would like more people to come to them if they know anything about a particular crime.
Interim chief Delgado said this past Sunday the department was redeploying officers to areas hit the hardest by violent crime.