Delray Beach has enjoyed a peaceful month and a half after a turbulent period highlighted by several shootings, resulting in community engagement and a new team on the police force.
“When you have residents afraid to come out of their homes, that’s a problem,” Interim Delray Beach Police Chief Javaro Sims said in an interview Wednesday. “It has changed a great deal (since the shootings). But there are reasons why it has changed.”
There have been no shootings between two feuding groups since, which has been responsible for 45 shootings since 2014.
There was one unrelated shooting where a home was shot but no one was hit.
One reason: the new gun violence team DBPD started.
Another: cultivating the connection between law enforcement and community.
“It’s also important to identify certain community members who can be a catalyst in establishing and maintaining those relationships,” Sims said.
Tim Boykin is a faith-based activist who helped organize the October march. He also co-founds Vision of Peace.
“I was one of them. I was the person who committed crimes. I did wrong. If I can change with the power of God, I have the same belief that they can change,” Boykin said Wednesday.
He says young people who might get into trouble aren’t bad, they’re just misled. He’s hoping the positive change is happening right now.
“I’m begging them to get it right and I’m praying they understand now before it’s too late,” he said.
Sims has been with the police department for 26 years. The shootings have come and gone, he says.
With the newfound focus on the community, he says they’re ready if there is more violence, but prudent in their preparation.
“We will stay vigilant in our efforts to maintain the status who which is no violence,” Sims said.
Police also say some high profile arrests recently have also helped to curb gun violence.