Thursday, October 1, 2020

North Bay Village Community Policing


There's a lot in the news nationally about "Defunding The Police."  

Like so much in these contentious times, the slogan misses the mark.  The actual discussion to have is are the police focused on the right programs and actions in addition to enforcement.  Do the police improve the community relations?  Are they going beyond enforcement and actively engaging in prevention?  Does the community trust them?  

In North Bay Village, we've seen both sides of that coin and come out on the better side.  

History Time

In the last decade, the North Bay Village police were warned not to engage with the residents and had significant consequences for them if they did.  Crime went up, residents lost information they needed to keep themselves safe, and it was a major contribution to the decline of North Bay Village.  

In 2017, when our new chief Carlos Noriega came on, he moved the needle on that.  He got the officers back on the street, supported Crime Watch, got our kids in PAL at Miami Beach and consistently seeks out opportunities to improve the relations in the community.  Hell, I joined him in a Critical Mass ride through the Village!  

It Pays Off

Last week there was an issue with stolen bicycles, not a major crime in its own right but important to the owners of the bikes and to the atmosphere of our Village.   

The police decided to get active on the issue.   They contacted the building, met with the management of the building, were handing out fliers to the residents with the Be On The Lookout shown here on the right, and were assessing the vulnerabilities in the building with an eye towards making it safer.  

All great things.   

Then this happened.  The suspect in the thefts decided to return to the site.  And our cops were right there.  And he got arrested.  

Now all of this might seem like small potatoes and dumb luck and maybe the second part is true - it was dumb to return to where you were jacking bikes - but it's not.  

It shows a police force that is consistent and involved in the life of the Village.  This is not an occupying enforcement agency.   It is a true public safety force.   

It's no secret that the bulk of our budget goes to the police and that can and should be questioned and justified.   We ask a lot of our police, they deliver and that costs real money but our police force is one of the best reasons to live here.  They are part of us.  

Kevin Vericker
October 1, 2020

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