The Orlando area broke its all-time murder record with three deadly shootings during the weekend, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The total is 123. This is the second time in three years that Orange County has broken its murder record. The last time was 2006, when a jump in juvenile crime and robberies helped push the number of killings to 121. Since then, law-enforcement agencies have launched crime crackdowns while local religious leaders created prayer campaigns and organized prevention efforts. Frustrated residents in the hardest-hit areas held rallies and patrolled streets on their own.
While robberies and other types of violent crime are down, overall crime remains well above 2005 levels, when the surge of killings began. Frustration and fear continue in the most violent neighborhoods, said Kelvin Cobaris, senior pastor of Empowerment Ministries. Eighteen murders have taken place in his neighborhood this year. “Law enforcement is giving the best that they can, but the crime rate is ridiculous,” Cobaris said. With the economy souring, crime might get worse, Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary said. “Homicide is a very tough crime to be proactive on,” said Beary, who is leaving office in January. “It’s going to be hard to stop them.”