Broward Sheriff cracking down on illegal house parties

Violence has erupted at large gatherings that are forbidden because of COVID-19 orders

Sheriff Gregory Tony said the time for warnings is over after large, illegal house parties in Central Broward have brought both violence and higher risk for coronavirus infection.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony says the party is over, particularly when it comes to illegal large gatherings in the wee hours of the morning.

Over the past weekend, deputies responded to four separate shootings in unincorporated Central Broward. Seven people were injured and three killed.

The sheriff says three of the shootings occurred during large house parties that are illegal because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We have seen the connectivity to where at these events, or at the end of them, shootings are occurring, fights are occurring, even homicides” Tony said Friday in a news conference outside the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

So, a large-scale operation will be underway as this weekend arrives.

“Over the next few days, we will have a full-blown operation consisting of our crime suppression teams, some of our [tactical] units, our detectives,” Tony said.

BSO has received over 1,100 calls about house parties and large gatherings since March.

Echoing the county’s leadership, Tony said the time for warnings is over.

“We have to take a much more aggressive stance. We’re cutting out the warnings. We have provided enough in terms of these parties,” he said. “If we can’t penetrate through this particular set of problems, the county administrator and the mayor, we are all going to have to sit down and have a conversation and ask, ‘Are we at a point where we need to introduce a curfew?‘”

The sheriff says COVID-19 and crime are connected.

“They’re large parties, they’re not in compliance with the CDC. They’re exposing people, not only to this virus, but now there’s also potential that there’s going to be exposure to violence,” Tony said.

BSO asks residents to report unlawful or unusual activities by dialing 954-764-4357 for non-emergency response or 911 for situations that require immediate emergency response. Residents can also report information through the SaferWatch mobile app.

About the Author:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.