Miami-Dade County authorities and police officers marched on Wednesday through neighborhoods in Miami, Florida, along with the citizens’ platform We Stand 4 Justice to encourage the community to report any gun crime and help law enforcement.
“Stop the Violence Peace March has begun. Rain or shine we are united and we will make a difference,” tweeted the Miami Police Department showing pictures of participants in the rain.
Among them were Crystal Foster, a We Stand 4 Justice activist; Art Acevedo, the city’s police director; and Freddy Ramirez, his counterpart for the entire county.
“Thank God we haven’t had any major shootings since this initiative began,” said county community services director Morris Copeland.
Copeland was referring to “Operation Summer Heat,” launched at the start of this summer season to crack down on street shootings, which for at least the past three weeks have spiked in Florida’s most populous county.
During the last two weeks and within the framework of “Operation Summer Heat”, almost 200 pistols and rifles have been confiscated by Miami-Dade police, according to data published today by Local 10 television.
Police have also made more than 400 felony arrests, and this Wednesday the county police department showed some of the ammunition and drugs seized on the streets.
Organizers confirmed to NBC 6 that they would make a stop on a northwest Miami street to remember Chassidy Saunders, the 6-year-old boy who was killed in a drive-by shooting outside a birthday party.
“All lives matter, but when you kill a child that’s on a whole different level. This minor didn’t get a chance to live his life,” Foster said.
Miami-Dade County last week approved a $90 million budget to fight crime through community programs.
The “Peace and Prosperity Plan,” proposed by county Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, will be long-term and includes online crime tracking and, among other things, the installation of surveillance cameras in businesses that agree to it.
Miami-Dade police are continuing their investigation to find those responsible for a recent shooting outside a Kendall, southwest of Miami, where a graduation party was being held.
Three people were killed in the shooting, including Tyleisha Taylor, 20, a Florida corrections officer who was passing by, authorities believe.
The other fatalities were two men who fled the scene in a car that crashed into a wall.