City of Miami leaders have announced a new initiative to reduce gun violence in the community.
It has been five months since the death of 6-year-old Chassidy Saunders, who was shot and killed while attending a birthday party. Chassidy is the youngest person to die due to gun violence in Miami this year.
Since her death, there have been a total of 22 murders, which is up from 15 at the same time in 2020.
“We’re not going to be tough on crime. We’re not going to be soft on crime. We’re going to be laser focused on being smart on crime,” Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
Miami Police said, with help from Miami-Dade Police, they are adding more than 100 additional officers in areas with the highest spike in violent crime, such as Little Haiti, Liberty City, Allapattah, Little Havana and Overtown.
Police said the aforementioned areas represent about 80% of gun violence in the county.
“If there ain’t cops in those regions, in those areas, all we’re going to find is the casings,” Acevedo said. “Well, guess what, we want to catch those crooks as they’re leaving the area, stop them and take them to jail.”
Police said the 90-day operation will focus on the summer months, when, they added, crime is usually at its highest.
“Every single life matters,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said. “Every single person in our city matters.”
The operation includes 2,700 additional coverage hours each week from police. They believe the initiative will help curb crime.
“We want our officers to understand that this is not about harassing people,” Acevedo said. “This is about targeting criminal behavior, and this is about doing it in a Constitutionally, lawful way.”
Police said they will meet daily and will reveal their findings to the community once the operation has ended.