TAMPA, Fla.— — Tampa Police are asking for the public’s help in addressing gun violence in the city, saying they’ve had an uptick in violent crime, especially crime involving guns.
Today should be a day that’s filled with joy for Jacquline Saddler Daniels: her birthday. Still, she says every day is a struggle, especially knowing her son, Dwyane, isn’t there to celebrate.
“I just woke up this morning just thinking, he would be the first one to call me and say happy birthday,” said Saddler Daniels.
She says her son was killed by gun violence nearly a year ago. Saddler Daniels is with Rise Up for Peace, an organization fighting against gun violence in communities.
“It seems like every day that I wake up, it’s not going to be true. I’m going to wake up, and he’s still going to be here,” said Saddler Daniels.
On Friday, members with Rise Up for Peace were joined by Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, who addressed a gun violence increase in the city. TPD displayed a map showing where the highest number of shootings have occurred year to date, the majority of them in the east Tampa area.
Dugan said so far for this year, we’ve had 23 homicides, while this time last year, he says we had 14 homicides.
“21 of those 23 homicides have involved a firearm,” said Dugan. “There have been 230 non-fatal shootings so far this year, so what that means is 230 people have been shot, but they didn’t die.”
Dugan said there have been 369 crimes so far this year total that has involved guns. 2020 was also a year filled with shutdowns, restrictions, and people at home due to the pandemic. ABC Action News requested data from TPD for 2019 as well.
“I really can’t tell you why this spike is up. Are there more guns on the street because people weren’t out and about last year? Or maybe they were stolen from cars?” said Dugan. “It’s really hard to attribute it to, but it’s deeply concerning when you look at these numbers.”
Dugan is asking people to not store guns in their cars, while also asking for the public’s help if they have information. You can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS or TPD's non-emergency number at 813-231-6130.
“If you care about your sons and your daughters, if you care about people in general, if you care about making this world a better place, if you care about making Tampa a better place, then do something about it,” said Leon Bland, a member of Rise Up for Peace.
Rise Up for Peace plans to hold walks in the coming weeks and encourages everyone to join in. They will be held on June 26 from 12p to 3p at Grant Park and on July 10 from 12 p.m to 3 p.m. at Cyrus Greene Park.