Police increase patrols, traffic stops in DeLand’s south side after shootings surge

DeLand police forming a task force with other agencies

DELAND, Fla. – After what police are calling a surge in shootings in a DeLand neighborhood, police and other agencies have created a task force to crack down on criminals.

DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger announced Wednesday the task force had already started work in the Spring Hill area of the city.

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“Since Oct. 29, there have been two separate incidents where two persons were shot and injured and another shooting that resulted in a criminal homicide,” he said.

Those are on top of four other reported shootings in the last three weeks in the city’s south side. No one was injured in those four but police haven’t caught the suspects yet.

“It’s just a matter of time, with the amount of rounds they’ve been firing and the high-capacity magazines, somebody that’s not involved at all is going to be struck by gunfire,” said Umberger.

That’s why he said his agency is working with Volusia Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the state attorney’s office to increase patrols.

“Because there’s more law enforcement in the area, the likelihood that you could get stopped is increased,” said Umberger.

The sheriff’s office reported in its first week, deputies made over 100 traffic stops resulting in seized drugs, stolen guns, and cell phones.

The goal is to also get information from residents to solve the shooting cases. Umberger said his team understands there’s a fear of retaliation from some residents about giving police information.

While some residents had their hesitations about more police, others in the Candlelight Oaks neighborhood said they were relieved to see more patrol cars.

“I think it’d be good if we had more patrols in this area at night,” said resident Jerry Fredrick.

Umberger stressed that all tips can be anonymous and sent to the Volusia Crime Watch site.

Investigators said they are following the evidence they have to find out if these incidents are all related but Umberger said as of Wednesday, a couple of the shootings don’t appear to have any connection.

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Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.