Florida’s largest county OKs plan after spike in gun deaths

MIAMI — Florida’s largest county is moving forward after a recent spike in shootings with a nearly $8 million plan to reduce gun violence, seeking to focus on jobs for troubled teens and added funding for law enforcement.

Miami-Dade commissioners unanimously approved Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s proposal at a meeting Tuesday, which followed an uptick in gun violence that began Memorial Day weekend.

“This recent wave of tragic violence is absolutely unacceptable,” Levine Cava said after the meeting. “This community has demanded an immediate response to protect public safety, and we are responding.”

The “Peace and Prosperity Plan” is being funded by a naming-rights deal made earlier this year with FTX, a Bitcoin trading platform, for the county-owned arena where the Miami Heat play. FTX Arena had previously been called American Airlines Arena.

Most of the money is to go to a program that focuses on teenagers already in the juvenile-justice system by providing summer camps, counseling and paying jobs. Funds are also going toward surveillance cameras, license-plate readers and additional police to monitor social media for threats that could lead to shootings.

Last week, Miami-Dade police launched “Operation Summer Heat” as an effort to crack down on gun violence. The 12-week program involves an increased police presence, with 17 strike teams tasked with shutting down illegally run businesses, which officials say attract violent crime.

Early Tuesday morning, a man and woman riding in a car were killed in a drive-by shooting in Miami-Dade. A drive-by shooting early Sunday at a graduation party left three dead. Another shooting on Friday in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood killed one person and injured six others. A bloody Memorial Day weekend saw three people killed and 20 wounded in a still-unsolved mass shooting at a banquet hall.