Why Is Violent Crime Spiking in Tampa?

Violent crime, including murder, is on the rise throughout Florida, including in Tampa. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported an additional 1,850 in 2020 over the previous year. 2021 could have an even higher percentage of reported crimes.

Crime is a public safety issue, but it is also a risk for unfairly or falsely accused individuals.

If you were charged with a violent crime, contact our Tampa violent crime lawyers to discuss possible defense strategies.

The Spike in Tampa Violent Crimes

In 2020, there were nearly 1,300 murders across the state. That’s an almost 15% increase from the previous year. More than 1,000 of those murders involved guns. 2020 also set the record for the highest number of gun-related background checks.

While certain crimes have declined, violent criminal acts are increasing. There are several reasons why violent crime rates continue to rise while crime as whole declines.

COVID-19 Pandemic & Lockdown

From riots over toilet paper deliveries to tense relations during the lockdown, the COVID-19 pandemic caused violent crime rates to soar. Increased incidents of domestic violence, stalking, and aggravated assault plagued Hillsborough County. Violent crime instances increased dramatically in Hillsborough County, the state of Florida, and across the nation.

The onset of the Delta variant means continued stress, friction, and disagreement that could fuel even higher violent crime rates.

Population Growth

Hillsborough County’s population grew by more than 33,000 residents in 2020, with a current population of 1,478,759. Pinellas County had a modest population increase but now totals 984,054.

While the county population is growing, the number of police officers has remained steady. More citizens are making more 911 calls, and there are fewer law enforcement officers to respond per person.

Housing, education, and social services are straining to accommodate new residents. There are more individuals seeking help from a limited supply of resources.

Political & Racial Divides

The murder of several Black Americans, including George Floyd, prompted nationwide protests and marches, including in Tampa. Some individuals believe that the police department should focus on preventative and inclusive methods to defuse racial tension. There is also a vast political divide between Americans who support Black Lives Matter and those who believe that the movement discredits police officers.

These racial and political divides create further tension and increase the likelihood of criminal activity as people choose violence to make themselves heard.

Issues Related to Increased Violent Crime Incidents in Tampa

The spike in violent crimes brings other issues to the forefront.

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down Tampa’s courts except for emergency cases. The courts resumed using virtual proceedings, but there is a massive backlog of cases. This delay impedes an individual’s right to a speedy trial and other rights of the accused.

The pandemic also limits the availability of drug treatment centers and other alternatives to jail or prison. Individuals arrested for drug crimes or those offenders with drug addictions might not receive the help they need.

Contact a Violent Crime Lawyer in Tampa

Tampa’s spike in violent crimes means that some individuals could be falsely accused or denied their right to a speedy trial. If you are facing violent crime charges, you deserve an aggressive legal advocate by your side.

Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A., is an experienced, dedicated Tampa criminal lawyer. A criminal conviction could mean prison and a permanent criminal record. Get a free initial case review using our contact form or calling 813-258-4800 today.