On Wednesday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez unveiled a new plan he hopes will prevent shooting deaths of children.
More than 100 children in the county have been killed by gun violence over past three years.
The new Youth and Community Safety Initiative is a multi-pronged intervention. The centerpiece of the initiative—which was announced at a press conference at Miami-Dade County Police headquarters—is a program that will assign county police officers as mentors to kids who are at risk of getting caught up in gun violence. Potential participants in the voluntary program will be identified by the county Juvenile Services Department.
“The safety of every child, of every resident of this community, is our shared responsibility,” said Gimenez.
The initiative also includes more money for crime tips, more gun buyback events and youth programming through the county parks department. And CareerSource South Florida plans to target job skills programs at high-risk young people.
Miami-Dade County Police Director Juan Perez said the gun-violence rates are unacceptable.
“And if we cut it to 50 percent, is that a success? Not at all. It’s still a failure. We’re still having kids killed. So this is about reducing that number to zero,” said Perez.
The county police department hopes to launch its mentorship program in May.