Tampa police given $1 million in grants to help prevent violent crime

The City of Tampa and the Tampa Police Department have been awarded grant funding through the Department of Justice (DOJ). The agencies said it will play a key role in preventing and reducing violent crime and improving overall community safety.

The city was selected for a $1.5 million Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant to help implement and expand programs around violence intervention.

The news came the same day Tampa Police Chief Mary O'Connor hosted a community forum to discuss violent crime. 

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"Our violent crime is actually down this year, which I don't think is publicized enough," O’Connor said. "So not our homicides, but people that are actually shot that don't die are actually down almost 10% year to date."

Homicides are now the priority as TPD said the city is at 48 so far this year. 

Among them is 45-year-old Willie James Carraway. Police said he was shot and killed in August while hanging with friends on North Nebraska Avenue in Tampa. 

So far, no arrests have been made in his death. His wife spoke at the community forum Tuesday asking people to come forward.

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"It would mean a lot to me to finally get justice for him," Niki Carraway said. "I don't know if I will ever completely have peace, but it'll bring me a little bit closer to closure."

TPD says these forums help build trust in the community and the grant allows them to utilize more resources to be proactive. 

If you have any information about a crime in the community, contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477).