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Decreasing crime top priority for city leaders in 2021

Posted at 9:54 AM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-01 09:54:18-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — 2020 brought a record number of murders in the Capital City, with the Tallahassee Police Department reporting 27 people murdered this year..

As we transition into 2021, city leaders and local organizations say they are looking to see that number decrease significantly.

"When it comes to violent crimes we need to make great gains," said Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey.

Dailey says going into the New Year decreasing the amount of violent crime is top of mind.

The uptick in murders is raising a red flag, not just locally but nationwide.

"What you're seeing in Tallahassee, we're also seeing in other communities and it kind of mirrors the national trend," Dailey said.

Law enforcement reported 21 murders in Tallahassee in 2019.

"I know if we put our resources together that we can influence and change the way these numbers are going," said Whitfield Leland III, the Executive Director of the Community Round Table 850.

He says the key is educating the community on how they can reduce crime together, like identifying high crime areas and building relationships between the community and law enforcement.

"We have the opportunity to bridge the gap between the police and the community and I think that's where the problem stems at because theirs no relationship between the two," Leland said.

TPD has had three officer-involved shootings in 2020, which brought about the city's Citizens Police Review Board.

Mayor Dailey says another branch of this is mental health response.

Forming an emergency response team that could de-escalate situations.

"If we could work with our law enforcement agencies and mental health partners in the community as well so we can help stem this violent crime that's taking place in our community, Dailey said.

Community leaders say results may not be immediate, but if everyone works together 2021 can move the trend in the opposite direction.

"It's not going to happen overnight, we're going to have to continue to fight, and continue to push."