What to Know
- Homeless sex offenders created an encampment in which they attempt to comply with laws related to their residence.
- The Miami-Dade Police Department said it hopes arresting people will not be necessary, adding it would only occur as a last resort.
- In March, it was estimated more than 277 registered sex offenders lived in the camp near Hialeah.
As a May 6 deadline nears for convicted sex offenders to abandon an "unsafe" and "unsanitary" tent camp near Hialeah, the last-resort threat of arrest looms for the transient homeless community.
On March 21, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Giménez sent a letter outlining a plan to clean up and close the camp populated by sex offenders – many on probation – attempting to comply with local laws, including one stating that offenders who abused a victim under the age of 16 must live at least 2,500 feet away from schools.
The camp is located along railroad tracks near the intersection of NW 71st Street and 36 Court.
Giménez designated a 45-day period for a plan to shut down the encampment, effective March 22. At the time, Giménez said there were more than 277 transient sex offenders registered at the intersection, 99 of whom were under Florida Department of Corrections or federal supervision.
"The sexual offenders and predators have created an encampment at the intersection with makeshift structures, tents and personal vehicles in the county right of way," Giménez wrote. "The area has become unsafe and unsanitary, and potentially breeding mosquitoes, disease and threats to public safety."
The plan is a joint effort by the Miami-Dade County Mayor's Office, the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, the Miami-Dade County Health Department and the Miami-Dade County Regulatory and Economic Resources Department.
As sex offenders are not legally permitted in homeless shelters, the plan sought to inform the community about rental assistance programs they could acquire.
The county said it would encourage them to contact the Housing Assistance Network of Dade, or HAND, program (305-231-7667) or the Miami-Dade Community Action and Human Resources Community Resource Center (305-884-4801) for assistance.
Giménez said the county would "reevaluate the situation" at the May 6 deadline.
"Any enforcement action will be carefully evaluated and utilized only as a last resort by Miami-Dade Police Department," Giménez wrote.
The Miami-Dade Police Department told NBC 6 it hopes the matter will be resolved by May 6, adding it would not forcibly remove people out of their tents.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has an online Sexual Offenders and Predators Search registry.