Leon County Sheriff’s Office ‘Anatomy of a Homicide’ Project Shows Increased Amount of Lethal Youth Violence

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – The Leon County Sheriff’s Office’s “Anatomy of a Homicide” project is examining more than 100 homicides from 2015 to 2020.

A notable trend is the high number of youth crime.

The 15 to 24 age group has the largest number of victims and offenders.

The report also shows that the victims and perpetrators of the deadly crimes are overwhelmingly black men.

The number of black victims is four times the number of white victims, and the number of black offenders is almost five times the number of white offenders.

The report indicates that the majority of homicides are committed with firearms, which often are not legally detained.

Tallahassee Urban League President Curtis Taylor calls on the community to speak out and help law enforcement end the violence.

“We have a serious, serious problem with gun violence. All around us we have people getting shot, people getting killed, ”Taylor said. “The next bullet could be a member of your family, your child, your daughter. It could be you. “

The majority of homicide perpetrators have already committed violent crimes; many committed crimes when they were minors.

Taylor says the problem starts at home.

“They’re around guns, they’re around gun violence. It’s about drugs, illegal activities. And so we ask ourselves at the end of the day, why are our young people shooting and killing each other? It’s the environment they grew up in, ”he said.

Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil says data shows there must be interventions at an earlier age, especially for young people affected by trauma.

“They’re in situations where they’ve seen a parent in a stressful situation, and they face those same stressful situations. One of the things we need to change the narrative about is that it’s okay for these parents and kids to consult, ”McNeil said.

The report also shows problems in the relationship between young people and law enforcement.

Taylor wants community events to give residents the opportunity to meet the police on a more personal level.

“Our young people see our police department as dangerous, someone who is going to lock you up, or get killed and shot. We need to change that image among our youth, and that’s why we need to have these regular community events, ”Taylor said.

McNeil says law enforcement has internal work to do as well.

“57% of the children surveyed said they didn’t trust the police and, in fact, said they thought the police were just as bad as she was,” McNeil said.

The sheriff’s office has set up a mental health response team, and McNeil says they are currently working on a team to address issues related to homelessness. He also says he intends to bring the idea of ​​a men and boys council to city and county committees.

The Tallahassee Urban League has its 27th ‘annual’Unity in the Community”Event on Saturday 11 December, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Taylor says there will be a press conference on violence with local leaders and law enforcement at 11:30 a.m. on Georgia Street in Frenchtown.

He says the event will include food vendors, art vendors, free health screenings and flu shots. The Urban League will also select a handful of families to cover their utility bills.

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