City Council told crime is down, even amid concerns of violence in South Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa’s Police Chief says crime and violent crime are down in the city from last year, despite recent deadly shootings.

Chief Lee Bercaw made his annual report on crime to Tampa’s City Council but the report comes less than a week after two people were killed and another injured in a late-night shooting in the South Howard Avenue area.

“Total crime is down nearly 7%. Our violent crime is down just over 8%,” Bercaw told council members as he went through a PowerPoint presentation.

“Crime statistics, in addition, homicides, we were down 13% last year and obviously we are off to a rough start this year,” said Bercaw in a reference to the shootings in the SOHO area.

Community members told council members they are worried about the increase in violence in SOHO.

“It’s not just a one-off, it’s just totally out of control there. It’s not safe to be there,” Marylou Bailey told the council.

She lives in South Tampa and like many, she says things are out of control around the bars.

“Many of the establishments got their permits from this council because there were supposed to be restaurants that were going to get 51% of their revenue from food when that’s no longer the case. There’s excessive loitering, there’s all kinds of public nudity, sex all kinds of gross things that were reported last night that I wish I could un-hear,” said Bailey.

She says people need to work together to find a solution.

“We need to work together. The council, TPD, the neighbors, the businesses to work together to calmly go through the information and figure out how to restore some sense of neighborhood to what is a neighborhood,” said Bailey.

Chief Bercaw agrees that people do need to work together.

“I’m seeing more people get involved in neighborhood watches and we want to continue that. That’s how we prevent crime from happening,” said Bercaw.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WFLA.