We need a sense of urgency to reduce and prevent crime in our Miami Beach. We must do better at all levels of our multilayered criminal justice system to bring back law and order. This includes significantly increasing our police presence and visibility, stricter enforcement of our misdemeanor and felony laws, supplementing our Miami Beach Police with a large contingency of County officers, stronger prosecution from our State Attorney’s Office and judicial sentencing of arrests that fits the crime, not just dismissing the charges as is often the case. I discuss many of the steps we need to immediately take to bring back law and order to our City in my June newsletter: https://bit.ly/3rCgGjn.
Two weeks ago I sent Mayor Gelber a formal request to schedule an emergency Commission meeting to discuss law and order as the Mayor has the authority to schedule such a meeting. I specifically requested that I don’t want this meeting to be just talk. We need action. This hybrid Special Commission meeting is scheduled for later today, Thursday, September 9 at 4pm. You may attend in-person at City Hall or via Zoom.
Everyone accountable should have a seat at the table at today’s Commission meeting so we can deter and prevent crime and end the disorder in South Beach once and for all. To accomplish this goal I personally invited Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle to our Special Commission meeting tonight. I also asked our City Manager Alina Hudak to extend these invitations as appropriate, including our federal counterparts. I am exploring all opportunities for our Miami Beach Police to strengthen its relationships with everyone who can assist us, including strengthening our partnership with federal law enforcement to deter and prosecute crime through The United States Department of Justice. We need all hands on deck throughout the criminal justice system working together.
I hear the frustration from our residents as to the level of crime and disorder once thought unimaginable in our City, particularly in South Beach. I share your frustration. I am saddened when I hear residents consistently tell me they do not feel as safe as they used to in Miami Beach. Even before I was elected as Commissioner, I have been pushing and demanding a significantly improved high visibility police presence and patrols — officers on foot walking the beat intimately engaged and talking with the community - and zero tolerance enforcement of our felony and misdemeanor laws. I have been publicly and privately advocating to use all available resources, our Police, County Police, federal law enforcement, code enforcement to enforce every law, from illegal drug use, illegal firearms, short term rentals, open beer containers, illegal homeless activity, everything! I have brought numerous Commission initiatives to address crime and quality of life issues and am currently working on additional measures. We need a sense of urgency! Proactive enforcement of our misdemeanor laws will improve our quality of life and prevent a significant number of more serious crimes from occurring. Zero tolerance enforcement with no exceptions works.
Once Miami Beach police make an arrest the Miami-Dade County criminal justice system mainly handles post-arrest adjudication. There is little transparency as to what happens to individuals once we make an arrest, including repeat offenders. In December 2020, I brought an initiative passed by our Commission to increase transparency and our ability to enforce our laws by directing our police department to collect post-arrest data, data that we don’t currently have. I’ve been pushing for nine months for this data which is starting to come in. I will share my analysis of this data once fully analyzed and it will be an eye-opener as to what is really happening in our criminal justice system. This begs the question: Why shouldn’t we have our own Miami Beach Prosecutors and Judges who will take our laws seriously? We must demand and hold everyone accountable to enforce the law and seriously prosecute our arrests, from our State Attorney, prosecutors, judges, police and yes our elected officials. It is our moral obligation we owe our residents. What primary role does government serve but to protect the safety and well-being of its residents, and visitors.
You have my assurance that I will demand action at today’s Special Commission meeting on measures we need to immediately take to prevent and deter crime in Miami Beach. I will not stop until our City takes the necessary steps to reduce crime and disorder and significantly improve our residents’ quality of life.
Posted on 09 Sep 2021, 01:15 - Category: 2021