As Shootings Take Lives in Minority Neighborhoods, Miami-Dade Police & Activists Call for Change

Just days before the MLK Holiday, a call for police and the minority community to join hands to stop dirt-bike riders from causing havoc, and to work together to halt violent crime. South Florida rap artist Luke Campbell said the police need to do more in minority neighborhoods in Miami-Dade and police are laying out what they are doing.

Campbell has spent his time not only making music but coaching football and being the voice for many in these minority areas. He wrote recently in the Miami New Times that police have to do something to head off the killings in these neighborhoods running from downtown Miami and up to the Golden Glades Interchange. Police told us they recognize the trouble and are pulling out all the stops to get results.

Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez today held up a card he keeps on his desk that daily reminds him of the little girl caught in the crossfire in NW Miami-Dade. Jada Page died 18 months ago and the shooter remains on the loose.

“I keep this card as a reminder so that I can continue to ask our homicide guys where are we with this case?" Perez said. “We haven’t solved this one but we haven’t forgotten."

Perez spoke to us just several days after Campbell voiced his concerns. Campbell said there needs to be more proactive policing. Perez told us they recognize the problem.

“We decided to make some changes in how we do things,” Perez stated. “That is enhanced community relations with the community. Get the community involved; get them to know you so that we can have better relationships; build some bridges so that when crimes do occur people come forward — people trust you.”

Community activists Nathaniel Wilcox told us that it's not just up to the police, but up to the people living in these locations to take action.

“We are working with the police department, working with anybody that we can work with — churches — to help address this issue of crime,” he said. “The killings that’s going on is totally out of hand and also parents need to play a much more vital role.”

Wilcox has produced postcards that residents can fill out without revealing who they are and tell police about trouble spots.

Perez told us that while losing one life is too many, the number of those killed in these areas in Miami-Dade has actually gone down from the last several years.

He said that more needs to be done here to make these neighborhoods what virtually everyone wants them to be.

“People start believing there is hope that there shouldn’t be discord between law enforcement and they shouldn’t see us as the arm of the law, they should see us as community members,” Perez said.

Perez emphasized that over the last year, three of his officers have been shot in these neighborhoods. The residents living here hope that this outreach will have some impact with limiting the number of dirt bikers and ATV riders and have taken over the streets in these areas on the MLK holiday weekend.

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