All of the homeless sex offenders living in a make-shift encampment in northwest Miami-Dade have been moved out of the area, police say.
Dozens of sex offenders and predators were residing in tents near NW 71st Street and 36th Avenue due to a Miami-Dade ordinance that required registered sex offenders to live about 2500 feet away from schools and child-care centers. The make-shift homes are within those parameters, but the Florida Department of Health determined the homes were a health hazard and unsanitary living spaces.
“At night, there’s rats everywhere,” one resident said. “They crawl on your face, and when it rains you get soaked. It’s a very, very bad place. And now, to be evicted, it’s even worse.”
Alvaro Zabaleta, detective with the Miami-Dade Police Department, said officers have been communicating with the residents for more than 45 days about impending eviction.
“[…] Now they have to move, and we cannot tell them where to go,” he said.
Zabaleta said residents have to notify the department’s sexual predator office and register their new location. Once they provide the location, officials will tell them if it’s within the guidelines, Zabaleta said.
Sex offenders aren't allowed at the county's homeless shelters and there are many restrictions on where they're allowed to live.
“Because of the difficulty they have finding house, they will most likely relocate to another street corner to avoid arrest and new encampments will pop up and this cycle will continue,” said Jeffrey Hearne from Legal Service of Greater Miami.
Sex offender camps are nothing new to South Florida. From 2006 to 2010, hundreds lived under the Julia Tuttle causeway until it was disbanded.
Last week, residents in West Kendall grew angry and protested after hearing that some of the homeless may relocate to a spot along Kendall Drive and Krome Avenue, where over a dozen people reportedly are already living.
Officials are in the process of clearing out the area.