50 new officers, have been patrolling Miami Beach this holiday weekend.
Crowds are lining the streets to celebrate Labor Day, and Miami Beach police are stepping up patrol following a violent wave of crime recently, so 40 officers were reassigned to patrol Miami Beach streets, as well as 10 additional Miami-Dade.
Code compliance teams, park rangers, homeless outreach and sanitation teams are also hitting the streets, as Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said it’s the highest level of policing ever in the entertainment district.
“This year alone, we’re arrested 3,154 people in South Beach,” he said.
The patrols are the latest effort to make the area safer for tourists and local, and expected to stay until at least the end of the year.
“Our entertainment district attracts too many people, including too many looking to fight, or to buy drugs, or carrying guns, and too often using them ... no revenue is worth this pain,” Gelber said. “We don’t need, nor can we sustain any longer an entertainment district. It has become a magnet for too much trouble and disorder. It also puts our police at risk and drains resources.”
Owners and managers of restaurants and hotels said they are concerned about crime on Ocean Drive.
“I don’t think it’s safe at times. There is no question during the day, typically is safe, but there is no question it’s not safe at times,” Gelber said.
A gunman fired at a pedestrian in front of the Winter Haven Hotel on 14th Street. Pedestrians ran and the gunman turned the corner on Ocean Drive. In a random attack fueled by a mushroom-induced psychosis, Tamarius Davis, shot Dustin Wakefield, as his one-year-old son and his wife witnessed the murder.
Gelber said Dustin Wakefield’s murder was horrific, as Ocean Drive has developed a reputation for chaos and crime. The department, plans to hire more than a dozen more officers in the next three years.
“Our city can no longer sustain an entertainment district,” Gelber said. “It just attracts too many people, too many looking to act out, to fight, or buy drugs.”
Davis is being held without bond and is facing two felony charges of second-degree murder with a weapon and attempted second-degree murder.
Recently Mayor Dan Gelber and commissioners discussed the idea of converting South Beach into the ‘Art Deco cultural district.’
“We're going to try to give incentives to good behavior and good development and take them away from folks who are coming here just to violate our code of conduct and create a situation which is not what we perceive that entertainment district to be,” Gelber said.
Commissioners gave approval to a proposal that would limit loud music after 2 a.m.
“We have found that too much loud noise creates a lot of disorderly conduct that breeds crime,” Gelber said. We're changing our police practices so there will be more police at fixed locations. We're going to have a code unit whose only job will be enforcing that area of South Beach.”
Commissioners unanimously approved increased penalties for sidewalk café violations with automatic 24-hour shutdowns for second offenses.