Tampa police, ATF to announce 'enhanced rewards'
Tampa police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are holding a news conference Thursday to announce "enhanced rewards" for information in some of this year's unsolved homicides. The move comes in a year in which police have grappled with a surge in violent crime that has included 29 homicides in the city. That's more than in any other year since 2003.
The conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Woodland Terrace Park. The park is where 14-year-old E.J. Harris was gunned down in May. He is one of five teens who have been murdered in the city this year.
In June, we chronicled the killings that had happened so far and noted some of the factors behind them. With a few exceptions, almost all of the people killed were men. Almost all were black. Almost all were killed in poor, inner-city areas, with several clustered in east Tampa and Sulphur Springs. We also noted the difficulty police have encountered in getting witnesses to cooperate in some cases.
The official homicide tally then was 18. The total now stands at 29, according to Tampa police. About half of those cases remain open with no arrests. In an effort to change that, police will promote the rewards for some cases on digital billboards thoughout Tampa.