Recently, we have experienced a number of violent crimes. These senseless acts of violence have forced us to prematurely say goodbye to some of the most innocent and kind among us. While extraordinarily bad things have occurred, we are not bad people and Miami Gardens is not a bad place. We are the same city of hard working, Godfearing people that we have always been and I am renewed every day in my effort to build a place worthy of the people that live here. The vast majority of the Residents of Miami Gardens are wonderful law abiding citizens that want nothing more than to work hard and live their lives in quiet enjoyment with their families, but there are some among us that have no respect for the law, us, or themselves and they are persistent in their lawlessness and inhumanity. They have abandoned any respect for life, as such, we are charged as a City and as a Community to seek them out, root them out, and allow them to be subjected to law and prosecution. Because I understand this, I remain committed to actively and aggressively combating the fringe elements in Miami Gardens that would seek to threaten the quality of life and safety of the majority of our residents. We will attack the problem of violence in the Community from two perspectives: first, we are implementing measures to provide short- term relief and second, we are implementing long-term strategies aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty and crime as a generational mainstay.
What we are doing:
• We created a crime reward fund to encourage people to say what they see and help us get criminals off our streets.
• In 2012-2013 we hired ten (10) additional officers and this year the City is hiring 10 (ten) more police officers in our effort to have a police presence that deters crime. With regard to the new officers, to the greatest extent possible, they will be Residents of the City. In an effort to deter crime, it is important that we have officers live among us as members of the community; parking their police vehicles in Miami Gardens’ neighborhoods, using our parks and shopping in our stores.
• In an effort know who lives in the City, we will begin requiring background checks for all tenants that rent homes in the City.
• We are also attempting to utilize Automatic License Plate Readers so that police are alerted when vehicles registered to criminals enter the City.
• Probation and warrant sweeps that are conducted in conjunction with Miami-Dade Warrants, FDLE, and Probation and Parole. These sweeps have led to countless arrests, seizures of contraband, and serve as a constant reminder that the City is vigilant in its efforts to protect its residents.
• In addition to this, the department has fostered key partnerships with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies resulting in the arrest of 110 people and the seizure of 248 guns.
In addition to apprehending criminals in our City, the police department is also focused on preventing crime. The entire police department has undergone training in Problem Oriented Policing to increase our officers’ ability to employ problemsolving tactics to prevent crimes from occurring. Because of this training, officers are contacting the parents of known gang members to advise them of their child’s affiliations and offer assistance and direction in preventing criminal activity. They are also actively engaging with members of the community through the Coffee with a Cop program, teaching our youth how to resist gangs through their Gang Resistance Education and Training program, and utilizing ShotSpotter Gunshot Detection System to allow officers to identify problem areas and deploy preventative resources accordingly. This type of proactive and preventative policing will ensure that we are a community that is equally focused on preventing crime as well as punishing it.
Going forward, it is important that we develop resources internal to the City that allow us to engage young people year around through academic, cultural, social, and athletic expressions. In that effort, the City Council will put before the voters the City’s first General Obligation Bond. The bond will allow us to redevelop the City’s parks to allow for activities beyond athletics, by including facilities that focus on science, art, and entertainment. This is important because what we have learned is that if we do not occupy their time and their minds, the wrong elements will. If allowed to remain unengaged, the collection of children that occupy our neighborhoods will organize into groups; those groups will evolve into gangs, and those gangs, in an effort to hurt each other, will rob us of our innocence and ruin their own lives. We have to stop the cycle, we have to stop them.
I end this note by saying that often times the difficult task of moving a community forward has fallen to other people, well this time the task is ours and we cannot fail. The trying times that we are enduring will not only be our test, as we emerge transformed into something better these times will be our testimony.