Citing growing concerns over gun violence, HCSO launches new team

Dozens of shootings are currently under investigation in Hillsborough County, including a boy and a man who were killed after a shooting and crash early last week along Tribune Drive in Riverview. Two women were also injured in the incident.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that the increase in gun violence, both locally and nationally, is why Sheriff Chad Chronister launched a specialized team: the Gunfire Response Investigations Team, or GRIT, as it will be known will focus on reducing street violence and non-fatal shootings.

State-level violent crime increased nearly 2.5% from 2019 to 2020, marking the first time Florida has seen a year-over-year increase since 2015. The 12 agencies responsible for Hillsborough County law enforcement – including Tampa Police – said they have seen by far the highest incidence of violent crime in the area.

“When we talk about these numbers,” Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan told reporters in late June, “we have to remember that these are names. These are people. is why they’re here. It’s not just statistics. They’re real people and we have to stop this stuff. It’s got out of hand. “

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Chief Dugan went on to point out that witnesses to crime can anonymously report illegally held guns.

“You don’t even have to get involved. You can just tell us where the gun is. That’s what we’re looking for. It’s not about gun control,” he said. he declares. “It’s not about taking guns from people. It’s about guns that are used in crime.”

The number of murders in Hillsborough rose from 66 in 2019 to 81 in 2020. The number of aggravated assault cases now stands at more than 3,200, an increase of more than 620 from the previous year .

Sheriff Chronister stressed that observers must take into account the explosive growth of the county.

According to figures released by the state in June, Hillsborough County’s population grew by nearly 34,000 to more than 1.4 million people.

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