Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade Saw an Increase in Gun Violence This Year and Police Are Blaming Social Media

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Miami-Dade County has seen an increase in gun violence over the last year and the issue may be stemming from social media, according to officials with the county's police department.

Since this time last year, Miami-Dade Police say they've reported over a hundred homicide cases - 26 more than the year before. In nearly a hundred of those cases, a firearm was used.

"We can’t police our way out of this," said Director Freddy Ramirez.

Major Jorge Aguiar with Miami-Dade's Homicide Bureau said a majority of those cases stemmed from conflicts which originated from social media.

Ramirez said many young people from different neighborhoods in the county may get into an altercation online and escalate the situation when their paths cross in public. He says most of the violence has taken place in broad daylight in populated areas where innocent bystanders often get caught in the crossfire.

“I’ve seen a disturbing trend in the increase in gun violence in our community and what disturbs me most is [how brazen] the acts of violence going on especially involving our youth," said Ramirez.

Miami-Dade Police have impounded more than 2,000 guns this year. Some are semi-automatic rifles.

"It's just merely spray and pray mentality and unfortunately we don't know who is going to be impacted by those bullets," said Major Jorge Aguiar. 

There a number of initiatives police hope the public uses in order to prevent this continued rise in gun violence.

One of those is the county's Crime Stoppers program - a phone line where people can leave anonymous tips for police and report individuals who illegally own a weapon.

Tipsters who report illegal firearms can earn $1,000 through the Gun Bounty Program.

Police are asking people who may have information on a person who owns a gun illegally, to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.

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