By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Many residents of South Beach will be happy to see a new Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD) effort called “Operation Safe Streets” launched Saturday, November 16th. Uniformed and undercover officers, code enforcement and the homeless resource unit, among others, were out in Miami Beach’s Entertainment District.
The Entertainment District is defined as along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, from 6th Street to 16th Street. While some area business owners, and the tourists they attract, can’t seem to get enough – it is a constant source of criticism from residents for the lawless behavior it encourages.
At around 7PM Saturday, Miami Beach police initiated Operation Safe Streets, the new effort to address street-level crime. The operation is reminiscent of the “Broken Window” criminological theory and policing strategy that helped clean up New York City in the 1980s-1990s.
The theory suggests that policing methods that target minor crimes such as vandalism and public drinking help to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby preventing more serious crimes. Not to mention benefits of quality of life and real estate value for residents.
“We have patrol officers, we have undercover officers, we have the city’s code enforcement out addressing noise type violations, but we also have our homeless resource unit out here as well,” explained Miami Beach police spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez to CBSMiami.
“Our goal here, again, is to ensure everyone that comes to Miami Beach is safe, sees the officers out on the streets and, again, just to remind people that Miami Beach PD is here and we’re here to serve and protect,” Rodriguez said.
The MBPD social media announced using the hashtag #OperationSafeStreet around midnight on Saturday, “Tonight MBPD is saturating the Entertainment District with officers who are tasked with keeping our streets safe.”
“This is a back to basics police work operation where we are addressing the myriad quality of life issues that our residents and visitors have brought to our attention,” Captain Daniel Morgalo said in a video announcing the start of the operation, which he is leading.
Some of the following updates throughout the night shows seized drugs that were being sold to undercover police, and “Arrest made near 13th Street Collins Avenue. Defendant sold cocaine to undercover MBPD Officer.”
Another was, “While on a separate call near 14th Street and Collins Ave. Officers were flagged down regarding an attempted purse snatching. Officers quickly detained the subject.”
Then, “Officers quickly responded to a 911 call of a fight near the 200 block of Española Way and quickly secured the scene. One subject in custody. Victim refused treatment from FD.”
At around 7AM Sunday morning the MBPD shared on social media: “Although we’re signing off of social media for the night, the men and women of the MBPD are out in force keeping you safe. Thank you for your support tonight as we kept our streets safe.”
Sunday morning the Ocean Drive Association, shared: “#OperationSafeStreets is just the ticket! Glad to see this initiative right as we start a season welcoming millions of guests to Miami Beach!”