Miami Beach to undergo increase in police presence after fatal shooting

The mayor of Miami Beach announced on Friday that the city would see an increased police presence following a fatal shooting at a restaurant that occurred more than a week ago.

A tourist from Colorado was eating at a restaurant in Miami Beach with his family members when a gunman fatally shot him, according to The Associated Press. 

“In the wake of the tragic murder two weeks ago of Dustin Wakefield, many residents have reached out with questions about policing in this area. Wondering what we have been doing and what more we can do,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber (D) said during a video that was posted to Twitter.

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“First, effective immediately, an average of nearly 40 officers have been reassigned to supplement existing patrols on South Beach," Gelber said. "These officers will work on high-visibility patrols and complement our traffic enforcement teams, as well as code officers and homeless outreach teams to create the highest level of regular police presence this area has ever seen,” he continued.

He also explained that 10 Miami-Dade County officers would be added to the city on weekends.

The mayor stated  that more park rangers would also be stationed in Lummus Park during the weekends, which is situated in the South Beach neighborhood to “create a visible presence that can be very helpful in deterring misconduct.”

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However, he noted that this was not the first time that the city was beefing up its police presence.

“Over the last few years, and before, we have taken significant steps in response to the disorder that has become far too common. Among them, we have increased our police department size and technology, created requirements that late-night bars have off duty cops and formed a code enforcement unit just for this area,” Gelber noted. 

The South Beach neighborhood and Miami Beach in general has been known for its raucous visitors who have come to the city during holidays and school vacations like spring break.

Crowds that came over spring break in March had become so unruly — including getting into fights and not wearing facial coverings — that the city had to impose a curfew of 8 p.m., the wire service noted.

The mayor noted that in South Beach alone, 3,154 people had been arrested in the neighborhood. He added that officials had issued 15,542 traffic citations in the city and had seized hundreds of guns.

“To put this in comparison, our city arrests more people per capita than nearly any of the other 34 cities in Miami-Dade County. It’s not easy given the crowds and unruliness. Every few days I call a police officer who has been injured in the line of duty to thank him or her for their efforts. Few cities face these challenges or ask as much of their police,” Gelber said in his video message.