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Community calls for focus on youth and greater surveillance at gun violence forum

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Posted at 10:39 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 23:15:50-05

SULPHUR SPRINGS, Fla — According to the Tampa Police Department, violent crime is trending down.

"In January alone we had 15 less shootings than we did last year," said Interim Police Chief Ruben Delgado.

But even if the numbers are trending down, both the police and the community say the numbers are still too high.

"What Tampa is suffering with is too many guns in the wrong hands," said a Sulphur Springs woman.

To help brainstorm solutions, specifically to gun violence, the police and the community came together Monday to talk.

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"As a mother of a deceased victim, they gotta stop," said LaMaria Smith.

Smith's daughter was shot and killed while she was driving late last year. And she says curbing the violence starts with parents.

"You know the police can't be at every spot every time, but you can control how your child acts in the community by raising them at home," she said.

Russell Porter works with youth at AMIkids in Tampa. He agrees that the focus needs to be on the next generation.

"I'm trying to teach them with their mindset to be more aware of what's going on in the community, what's going on in their everyday life, and to be able to open up and talk more," he said.

Though others agreed that this focus is important, some also called for more partnership between the police and the people.

"If you want to reach a community, you have to build the trust. Trust starts with communication," said a Sulphur Springs resident.

And in the end, there was also a call for greater surveillance to help catch those that are pulling the trigger.

"I just wanted to know if we can get more legislation passed where these clubs and these establishments where these kids are staying get more surveillance," said a resident.

Monday's meeting was a second in a series of community forums put on by the Tampa Police department and the group "Rise Up for Peace."

The time and date for the next forum have not been released yet.