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Blaming victims not the way to solve Miami Gardens’ crime problem

Miami Times Editorial Department | 11/7/2013, 9 a.m.
Referring to Miami Gardens as South Florida’s new “murder capital” in last week’s edition was not just a ploy to ...

Referring to Miami Gardens as South Florida’s new “murder capital” in last week’s edition was not just a ploy to spark readership nor was it was done in the spirit of sensationalism. The name, at least for now and based on recent statistics, is an appropriate way of describing South Florida’s largest Black city. Crimes like robbery may be on the decline but the murder rate continues to escalate with ominous results.

In fact, Miami Gardens leads all cities in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties with populations over 40,000. Shootings have become so commonplace, that some citizens have almost become immune to the violence. But then, perhaps a better way to describe how residents of Miami Gardens are beginning to feel is numb. Some citizens are even looking to move, fearful for their lives.

In conversations with several City leaders, we learned that many believe these gun-related murders to be targeted incidents. If that is so, then the challenge that Miami Gardens faces is not random, drive by shootings but rather acts of revenge — they are carefully plotted acts of violence. But when bullets fly, they don’t always hit their target. Sometimes, it’s innocent children who are caught in the crossfire.

Allusions have been made to the City’s gang problem but for the most part, police and elected officials tend to skirt the issue. But it seems that to do so is tantamount to sticking one’s head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich.

Miami Gardens has a real problem as young thugs seem bent on making it their playground for criminal activity. But even their lives and futures can be reclaimed if we desire.

It may be time to bring in more experienced law enforcement specialists who have seen and dealt with similar situations. Clearly our best isn’t good enough. Each day we ponder over solutions only invites more gunshots and more deaths.