BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony held a virtual news conference Wednesday morning to speak about the agency’s ongoing operation aimed at preventing violent crimes in Central Broward, as well as cracking down on large gatherings and parties.
The news conference comes weeks after deputies responded to four separate shootings in unincorporated Central Broward within the same weekend. Seven people were injured and two were killed in a shooting in the Dillard community.
The sheriff says three of the shootings occurred during large house parties that are illegal because of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the sheriff, there have been more than 1,100 calls about house parties and large gatherings since March throughout the entire county.
He said most of the calls for service have been in District 5, which is why that area is being targeted in the agency’s operation at this time.
“We looked at our particular district, District 5 here, that had the largest volume of those calls for service and decided that that was going to be the most appropriate one to start this enforcement activity, but I can tell you, if we see anymore spikes or shifts throughout the entire county, specifically cities that we’re responsible for safeguarding, we will shift this operation or expand it to those particular areas,” Tony said.
According to the sheriff, more than two dozen calls for service have been received by BSO in the past two weeks from District 5.
As a result of the beefed up enforcement, Tony said they hit 13 of those gatherings in the past several days, issuing more than 260 citations, arresting 25 people and seizing three guns. A stolen car was also recovered.
“This operation has been very pivotal in our ability, not only to just break up the crime patterns that we’re seeing, but also for helping reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Tony said.
The sheriff said several businesses have also been shut down for 24 hours or fined for violating orders put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic, and said BSO will continue enforcing those rules.
The agency is asking 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.
During Wednesday’s news conference, Tony also provided an update on the situation in his jails.
Back on July 14, Tony said there was one inmate in custody who had tested positive for COVID-19. But as the cases out in the community have climbed so have the cases in the jails.
A total of 29 inmates are currently COVID-19-positive, but the sheriff said some of those inmates were positive when they were booked in.