ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón spoke to media Tuesday afternoon, addressing the apparent string of shootings across the city.
So far this year, the Orlando Police Department has investigated 13 homicides, two of which have not been solved, according to the chief.
He said the department has been very successful at solving rape and assault cases, because of the community's assistance. He plans to encourage similar community engagement to continue to solve crimes.
In 2018, OPD investigated 33 homicides, the chief noting a decline compared to this year.
"We have seen a very drastic decline compared to last year. But one homicide is one too many," he said.
Though the number of homicides have decreased, the chief says the uptick in shootings is alarming.
"When you have x number of shootings occurring and our officers are responding to them, that means that someone out there feels empowered to actually bring out a gun and shoot that gun. Whether that's to shoot at the ground or at a vehicle, at a home, it's still a shooting," he said.
The department hs turned to research to scientifically identify trends or patterns. The department has partnered with the University of Central Florida to conduct studies and dive into department research regarding deadly shootings and homicides.
Professors with the university are working to identify any relationship between homicide victims and offenders and find a correlation betwen an offender and possibly their past crime activtiy. This research can help define the potential for Orlando police to identify domestic violence patterns that may have resulted in previous homicides, and use this information to identify potentially deadly situations.
"We have to dive in to the information that we collect to better analyze how we can proactively engage some of our communities [and] some of our residents to make them aware of what can lead to a potential incident of violence," Rolón said about the ongoing research.
He said one report is in its final stages, as researchers wrap up the final details with OPD's violent crimes sector.
Rolon mentioned research is helpful for a proactive approach, but as bullets know no boundaries, he and other local law enforcement agencies must collaborate to solve cases.
He said many of the head of local law enforcement agencies will meet next week to discuss how to address these trends in gun violence. The district attorney's office and corrections department has also been invited to attend.
"Law enforcement in Central Florida has a history of working collectively on just about anything you could imagine. Specifically when it comes to sharing information," he said.
"What we're doing now though, we're trying to capitalize on how technology has evolved and the platforms that have been developed to best share that information. That is the constant goal."