Miami Beach Police Target Crime With Operation Strike Back

Crime is up on Miami Beach, specifically on South beach and not by much, a little more than two percent, but it's noticeable and it has the attention of police and the city.

The Miami Beach Police Department's Crime Suppression Team is working extra duty as part of an effort to reduce a growing amount of crime.

"We've enhanced staffing. We're using a strategic use of overtime to increase visibility of regular patrol units," Chief Daniel Oates said.

Dubbed Operation Strike Back, Miami Beach Police are trying to be proactive to stop an uptick in armed robberies and thefts. As of June 22nd there are enhanced patrols, special units deployed and officers working overtime.

"Because we want to send a message about safety in our community," Oates said.

While robberies may be down this year, overall crime is up. Just last week a father and son were carjacked and held at gunpoint as they left a nightclub. And the week before a couple on the beach also robbed at gunpoint, the woman sexually assaulted.

A lot of the crime happens out on the sand after 10 p.m. when it's pitch black. It makes tourists and unsuspecting residents perfect bait for criminals.

"This is not happening at 8 p.m. while people are having dinner, this is happening after midnight. It's happening on the beach sand where people aren't supposed to be anyway," Commissioner Michael Grieco said.

And this week, commissioners gave initial approval to a plan that would fund 12 permanent cops in a new entertainment district command sector, dedicated solely to businesses and tourists from 5th-15th street and between Washington and Ocean.

"The most important deterrent to crime is viability of police officers, I'm not talking about in cars, with windows up, this is police officers walking the beat, riding on bikes, ATVs, golf carts where they see hear and smell what's going on in the area," Grieco said.

Since Operation Strike Back started two weeks ago, police have made 72 arrests for a variety of crimes.

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