Orange County sees uptick in violent crimes with more year-to-date-homicides

click to enlarge Orange County sees uptick in violent crimes with more year-to-date-homicides
via Orange County Sheriff's Office
A recent spike in violent crime prompted Orange County Sheriff John Mina to hold a press conference on Thursday. There have been 40 homicides in the county this year, and it's "definitely an increase from last year," Mina said.

At the same time last year, there were only 29, sheriff's officials said. Orlando Sentinel data, however, puts the number at 36.

"I've been doing this for three decades," Mina told media at the conference. "My opinion is people seem to turn to violence more than they did 10, 20, 30 years ago."

But Mina said the sheriff's office doesn't necessarily need more tools or more resources to combat crime. Just more intel.
"We are very fortunate here at the Orange County Sheriff's Office. We have the recourse we need. Thats not the issue," Mina said. "We need folks to come forward in the community, help us out a little bit."

The uptick in violence in the county is not concentrated to a specific area. However, Mina added Pine Hills and Holden Heights continue to be challenge areas for authorities. In response, they concentrate more personnel over there.

The sheriff's office has made more than 3,500 arrests since January, with hundreds tied to drugs, guns, and gang-related violations, Mina said.

Eight of the 40 recorded homicides this year were domestic-related, Mina said, meaning they were "behind closed doors."

The majority were not random incidents but tied to criminal activities, he said.

"People are tired of violence. I understand that," Mina said. "I will again reiterate that many of the shootings you see are people involved in high risk behaviors: Drugs and gang-related activities."

Just last month, Mina presented data to the Orange County Board of Commissioners showing overall crime went down in 2018, but homicides went up.

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