YBOR CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – Businesses in Ybor City are fed up with the latest crime. The night before Thanksgiving is known as ‘Blackout Wednesday’ due to excessive drinking.
“We understand the importance of tonight being Thanksgiving and the added crowd for the day, so yes, rest assured that TPD will be there in force to make sure everyone is safe,” said Major Eric DeFelice, Tampa Police Department.
However, some businesses are questioning the lack of police in this area, especially on nights like Wednesday night. Ritz Ybor general manager Paul Cifelli said his main concern is the lack of police presence.
“We have fights on the 7th, gunshots and where [are] Police? “Unfortunately, a gentleman was killed weeks ago,” Cifelli said.
A 20-year-old man was shot and killed along 7th Avenue on Oct. 23, according to police. Weeks ago, another man was shot in the arm, again on 7th Avenue.
“We can have 50 to 100,000 people down here and really big city events and there’s not a huge influx of officers,” Cifelli said.
8 From your side asked Major Eric DeFelice who said that TPD devotes a lot of resources to the area.
“I couldn’t agree more with that statement,” he said. “I would say we go a long way with business owners and stakeholders in Ybor City.”
Cifelli disagrees. “Go down to Ybor City at 1 in the morning, 1:30 or 2 and find an officer,” he said. “Find those officers because we’re not seeing them.”
Tampa police said the top five crimes in Ybor include violation warnings, battery, DUI, driving while license suspended and pickpocketing. Police also said there have been two homicides in Ybor this year and three last year.
“It’s troubling to know there’s going to be a lot of people down here in the officer count probably not going to get up to it,” Cifelli said.
TPD said it will be out in full force, with uniformed officers outside as well as others undercover.
“We understand that violent crime there, especially shootings in that area, is a big concern for us as well,” DeFelice said.