Gun Violence Initiatives
Gun violence continues to plague certain segments of our community at unacceptable levels. The factors that contribute to it are well-known to law enforcement, but finding solutions has proven difficult. It is a problem that many cities in America grapple with every day, exacerbated by factors such as poor housing conditions, limited police resources, and the hesitancy of some victims and witnesses to come forward.
But a relatively small percentage of the population in these areas commit a disproportionate amount of this gun violence. One of our goals has been to focus on these individuals, prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law for all crimes they commit – not just those related to firearms – and keeping them off our streets however we can.
In 2016, we launched our Gun Violence Reduction Initiative (GVI) with the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Northside District and Miami Police Department’s North District. The idea was to embed prosecutors, investigators, and other staff in the area to work more closely with citizens and law enforcement in the affected neighborhoods. Prosecutors respond to every gun-related homicide and contact shooting in the area, providing immediate support for law enforcement at the earliest possible stage of the investigation. Our victim counselors also respond to assist victims with counseling, relocation, and other victim-related services.
The collaboration between law enforcement and the State Attorney’s Gun Violence Reduction Initiative led to the arrests of 74 defendants for gun-related charges, including Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Attempted Murder and Murder. In addition, the collaboration resulted in the confiscation of over 40 illegal firearms including handguns, shotguns and assault rifles. Also, the Initiative successfully prosecuted over 90% of the cases filed. Encouraged by the Initiative’s success, the State Attorney’s Office entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Miami Gardens to replicate the program in that area. We officially partnered with the Miami Gardens Police Department and our GVI is now up and running in that community. Heading into 2020, we look forward to continuing our Initiatives and partnerships. We remain committed to using all available resources at our disposal to combat gun violence in the hardest-hit areas of our county.