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Crime rate drops but murder rate now five-times the U.S. average

Miami Gardens police employ citizen patrol as murders surge

D. Kevin McNeir | 10/31/2013, 9 a.m.
Last Monday evening, a barrage of bullets was unleashed from a shopping center alley in Miami Gardens. And once again, ...

Miller noted that crime is down in Miami Gardens — 40 percent over a five-year period. But he also acknowledged that gun violence and homicide remain a high priority [see the chart for the recent numbers] and are being “attacked in a multi-faceted way.”

Strategies include ‘shot spotter’ and more cops

According to Miller, while there are still standard law enforcement procedures that continue to be followed, Miami Gardens has gone on the offensive in terms of gun violence. Those changes include: the hiring of 10 additional police officers through the assistance of a federal grant; a Gun Reduction Program that will target those with illegal weapons; the deployment of more officers on the street; partnering with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives, the State Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office; a gang resistance education and training program targeting fourth and sixth graders; Mobile Resource Units sent out to parking lots of frequented business centers to help youth or families in crisis; and a citizens patrol which kicked off last week that uses residents who have gone through Police Academy training and are now in police-owned vehicles serving as the “eyes and ears of the community.”

“We have had 16 homicides this year versus 19 last year so it is troubling when certain members of the media make it seem that everyone who lives in Miami Gardens is a potential murder victim, which is just not the case,” Miller said. “Each homicide has its own unique circumstances and involve certain factors, like the victim knew the shooter or it’s gang or drug related. But when someone is intent on killing another, there’s very little we can do. Sometimes those murders just happen to be in Miami Gardens but could have taken place anywhere. When you look at the crimes that we can affect, like theft in order to stop burglary, that’s where we are bringing down the numbers.”

“Over the last five years when the City started its own police department, we have had some success,” Gilbert added. “While we have not accomplished all of our public safety goals, we’re well on our way in our efforts and will continue until we make Miami Gardens the safest community possible.”

“There are some very bad buys and good guys too living in our City,” Miller said. “But it simply isn’t fair to paint Miami Gardens with such a horrible brush.”