Orange-Osceola state attorney launches new initiative to combat violent crimes
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Orange-Osceola state attorney launches new initiative to combat violent crimes

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – When State Attorney Andrew Bain was first appointed to the Ninth Judicial Circuit, he promised to restore order. Now, six months into office, he’s addressing crime in our communities with a new unit to target violent offenders.

News 6 spoke with the top prosecutor in Orange and Osceola counties Tuesday about the effort. Bain says the most serious cases, except for homicides, will be assigned to prosecutors in the new Violent Crimes Unit.

“To provide stability and safety you have to have not only great investigations by law enforcement, as well as citizens who are willing to step up and say no to these types of violent crimes, you also need us as an office to be ready to deal with those kinds of cases when they come in,” Bain said.

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The Violent Crimes Unit will handle cases including attempted murders, kidnappings, carjackings, home invasions, and armed robberies.

According to the most recent data released by the FBI, Florida’s rate of violent crimes was below the national average in 2022. The Orlando Police department had 2,597 offenses, the largest number of reported violent crimes in Orange County.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office shared some perspective when News 6 asked for information regarding the number of cases they handled last year.

A spokesperson said overall crime in Orange County is down 24% in the last five years. In 2023, they had 63 homicides, 50 carjackings, 19 home invasions, and 215 armed robberies against a person.

State Attorney Bain addressed a problem with gang violence when he spoke with our News 6 crew Tuesday.

“The gang violence in this community is really perpetrated by young people, and very young adults,” Bain said. “We have street gang problems, so we have a bunch of disenfranchised, angry kids who get together and start doing violent things to other people in our community,” Bain said.

Bain says his Violent Crimes Unit will also address repeat offenders.

“The community’s wondering why is this person back out on the streets? What happened? What’s going on? They weren’t addressed in a way that we felt was going to keep us safe,” Bain said. “So, to prevent that from happening this unit is going to be there to help us deal with that.”

News 6 asked the state attorney about a recent rise in road rage incidents. There have been at least three in the Orlando area in the first two months of 2024. Bain says the new unit may deal with some of those offenders if they have a track record of previous violence.

“Is this unit in and of itself going to prevent crime? No, it’s not going to do that. That is going to take a larger scale community effort,” Bain said. “But will this unit help prevent repeat offenders from coming back out onto our streets and committing more crimes? Yes, it will. It will help to do that.”

The Violent Crimes Unit started work on Feb. 12. It is currently comprised of five, experienced prosecutors, and Bain says there is potential for it to expand in the future.

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