crime scene do not cross signage

This Viewpoint Map distills viewpoints to a digestible format so we can ponder them without the distraction of others “arguing at us.”

Miami Beach crime map from CrimeGrade.org

In this case, below are Miami Beach residents’ perspectives on crime levels in 2021.

You may:

Our reporting does not imply our support for any view.


SUMMARY OF ALL PERSPECTIVES GATHERED

Summary: People who feel crime has worsened in Miami Beach cite these causes:
(ranked according to survey results, click each for detail)
  • Tourist quality: we are attracting the wrong type of visitor.
  • Failed leadership: either the Mayor, Commissioners and/or City Manager are to blame.
  • Policing execution— either too few cops, wrong tactics, poorly located, too tolerant, officer inaction, or similar.
  • Policing politics — political correctness and lack of support ties police hands.
  • Courts leniency: prosecutors or judges not sufficiently convicting or punishing.
  • Specific policies: Ocean Dr. closure, timing of “Last Call”, etc.
  • Homelessness: failing to address the homeless/mentally ill in the community.
  • National problem: this is part of a worsening issue across the nation, not just in Miami.
Summary: People who feel crime has NOT worsened cite these alternative explanations:
(ranked according to survey results, click each for detail)
  • Only Temporary: the increase is temporary, related to pandemic impact on income and travel.
  • It’s Relative: crime may be worse, but Miami Beach remains safe; don’t overreact.
  • Social Media: online sharing makes crime appear worse than it is.
  • Nothing’s Changed: factually speaking, crime has not meaningfully increased in Miami Beach.
  • Media exaggeration: the media need sensationalism to get people’s attention.
  • Worse Problems: crime may be worse, but other local problems are more serious.

DETAILS ON ALL PERSPECTIVES GATHERED

Attributed comments are Miami residents unless otherwise indicated. Unattributed are paraphrases (not verbatim ) of sentiment expressed in Miami Beach-focused online communities.

Details: People who feel crime has worsened blame these causes:
Failed leadership: either the Mayor, Commissioners and/or City Manager are to blame.
“It’s all starts with strong leadership that supports and defends the police, proper policing and convicting rather than dismissing breaking the law. If those issues are tackled, we solve the crime issue, get tourists that will respect our city and what it had to offer and magnifies the residents quality of life. When we moved her in the early 2000s I felt very safe on Ocean and Washington until the wee hours of the morning. People didn’t act the way they do today because it wasn’t tolerated.”North Beach resident Sam Latone

“I’ve been living in Miami Beach for over 20 years I am an owner of a condominium. I’ve seen the changes that started with hip-hop and the mayor not taking control of the crime that occurred during these events.”South Beach resident Sandra Otero

“The closure of Ocean Drive, allowing short-term rentals (AirBnB), favoring developers over residents, and most important, the absolute failure of leadership and policies by Mayor Gelber.”mid Beach resident Carmel Ophir

“And now that the ‘party’ that our city invited is in full guns out swing, every effort is being made to put the blame on businesses that have been operating safely for decades so that politicians supported financially by developers can push the 2am agenda yet again in hopes that businesses will sell their buildings to them for pennies on the dollar …. In this city, ALWAYS Follow The Money”mid Beach resident Cynthia Golub

“City Hall is focused on pleasing developers versus the concerns of the residents …. City hall is always on the defense versus solving the problems.” South Beach resident

“Leadership is not pushing for consistent police presence in the areas where most crimes happen”South Beach resident

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Tourist quality: we are attracting the wrong type of visitor.
“When I first moved to Miami we used to have a lot of tourists from Germany, Brazilians and Canadians come here to have fun and enjoy the weather and the entertainment. They no longer come here because they’re scared of the crime and what’s happened to South Beach. We are constantly on the news, the world sees what’s happening and they want no part of it..”South Beach resident Sandra Otero

“The quality of tourist have changed …. If prices of airlines and hotels and Airbnb are very low, it will also not help [t]he situation.”South Beach resident Eddi Maxwell

“We make it too easy for people all over south florida to come party on our streets for the night. We should attract tourists that stay in our hotels and vacation rentals and not build more cheap parking for all of south florida to party here on nights and weekends.” South Beach resident Charles Christian

“I don’t go to South Beach- too honky tonk to keep [sic] and dangerous. Cheap hotel rooms no policy on how many people in a room, bar owners have far too much political capital. Now our reputation for being a party town attracts parties.” — mid beach resident Donna Ruff

“The absolute craziness even on Washington in the last 2 years. Don’t go there often but don’t want to go at all now. Naked people hanging out of car windows swearing at people etc. This happened even before 10:00!” — South Beach resident Miles Cherkasky

“Disrespectful and inappropriate behavior on behalf of tourists; a Wild West mentality where anything goes at other people’s expense. Lack of care and sensitivity towards permanent residents.” South Beach resident Silvia Acosta

“We have been telling the world that our city is a lawless, all-night, do-as-you-please party mecca.” Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine

“The crowd coming to south beach has changed.”
South Beach resident

“attracting nothing but party types will only yield party type tourists.”North Beach resident

“We have a dirty looking city with horrible traffic routes and empty storefronts along with cheap retail and liquor stores on every corner. We don’t have enough nightlife diversity or cultural attractions which bring quality tourists. The low hotel rental rates and short term rentals encourage too many people per room and at inexpensive rates and with nothing to do, they drink and do drugs all day and night, raising hell with no consequences. People know that they can come here, and anywhere across the USA, and can act with impunity and no consequences for lawlessness”North Beach resident

“We don’t need this type of tourism to have a vibrant city. Our brand will take a decade to repair….”Isles resident

“The fact is the current debauchery allowed attracts people that want to go wild for a little bit, and they don’t know the residential Miami Beach a lot of us live every day. That said it’s the only Miami Beach I know (lived in the area for 7 years) and I’m not even sure Miami Beach without the clubs and bars is much safer, or just creates less foot traffic and potential witnesses.”South Beach resident

“Ever since 1999, when the city started to host Urban Beach Weekend, there is a major decline and a rise in crime. Then memorial weekend flourished into an Urban Beach Week. Now it’s … all the time …. Quality events will attract quality crowd.”
South Beach Resident

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Policing execution: either too few cops, wrong tactics, poorly located, too tolerant, officer inaction, or similar.
“We need more police presence, not just at night but during the morning and day.”South Beach resident Eddi Maxwell

“There is no police presence on Ocean Drive and when there is trouble, the response is after all chaos already broke loose. Tactics much be switched to prevention.”South Beach resident Daniel Ventura

“There is a lack of police presence ABNB and SRO’s in residential neighborhoods where there is no one to oversee what goes on”South Beach resident Ed Garces

“too few cops actually patrolling, too busy closing street for resident during big events”North Beach resident

“Thugs everywhere causing trouble everywhere but no cops can be found. I saw an … attack … under a camera in front of the POLICE station. Not one cop was around or came out. Disgraceful!!!”South Beach resident

“Despite what we hear about extra police, or borrowed police from the city of Miami or county, they never seem to be around. Too often I see officers sitting in their cars or carts rather than walking around. Or, I see a dozen cars respond to an incident just to sit there and watch.”Miami Beach resident

“Police need to walk the beat”South Beach resident

“More police and more strict with “partying people” to make them uncomfortable would maybe change their will to come here. Prohibition of carrying guns AT ALL!!”South Beach resident

“We are attracting wrong people because everyone is allowed to come to Miami Beach with guns, rent expensive cars and drive drunk and under substance , and all the tourists tha come here know that that can destroy cars, people and the peace of the residents without any punishment!!” South Beach resident

“Personally seen police too tolerant and not taking action to stop drug deals going diwn on Ocean Drive in the middle of the day”Isles resident

“We need police that are constantly enforcing laws, move last calls to 1am ….”
Isles resident

Broken Windows” …. “Community policing?” …. “ero toelrance?” …. “More undercover cops in bad areas?” …. “Bridge checkpoints?” …. “Surveillances cameras?” …. “More lighting?”
 
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Policing politics — political correctness and lack of support ties police hands.
“Police are not allowed to do their job due to political correctness.”mid Beach resident

“Too much leniency toward criminals. Police officers aren’t allowed to do their jobs efficiently due to fear of repercussions brought by political correctness.”
South Beach resident

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Courts leniency: prosecutors or judges not sufficiently convicting or punishing.
“90% dismissal rate of offenders is unacceptable”North Beach resident Lisa Lugan

“Politics have entered policing and it’s detrimental to a civilized society.”North Beach resident

“The State Attorney is not prosecuting. There are no consequences for criminals. The courts need to be tougher or policing is not going to make any difference.

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Homelessness: failing to address the homeless/mentally ill in the community.
“There is more homelessness and they are more aggressive.”South Beach resident

“Many arrests indicate people on drugs and/or mentally ill.”South Beach resident

“How is it no one addresses the homeless issue??? Some verbal and potentially violent altercations have occurred unprovoked by these seeming harmless non tax paying citizens of Miami Beach”South Beach resident

“The Homeless Outreach Unit needs more resources to help the mentally ill off the streets and to facilities where there is care.”

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National problem: this is part of a worsening issue across the nation, not just in Miami.
“There is more drugs and guns on the street and this problem is national.” — South Beach resident Eddi Maxwell

“Economic inequality”North Beach resident

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Specific policies: Ocean Drive closure, timing of “Last Call”, etc.
“Closing Ocean Drive is a big mistake it only caused large crowds together which brought on fights, people being intoxicated, increased in drug and increase in crime.”South Beach resident Sandra Otero

“The City essentially pulled a street party permit with the county so they could shut Ocean Drive down to traffic and essentially ‘have a street party’; making it impossible for the police to patrol the area or respond to incidents in a timely manner. …. You want to rid Ocean Drive of crime? Open it up to one way traffic as the police chief has been begging the city to do.”mid Beach resident Cynthia Golub

“…the decline has excellerated [sic] the last 5 years. …. Short term rentals are bringing in a different crowd …. We need more code enforcement and holding bad property owners accountable.” — South Beach resident

“… get rid of cheap hostels in residential neighborhoods on the beach and enforce Airbnb restrictions.”South Beach Resident

“I am a resident of the west end of South Beach. I have pictures and videos of the party buses disguised as a fire engine truck dropping off over 30 people with drinks in their hands at 3-4 AM being loud and disrespectful to the local residents. I think that a designated “party” area may need to be revisited.”
South Beach resident

“[I] support last call to be 2AM.”South Beach resident

“What a surprise, our City creates a 24-hour hard party destination, and that area creates a mountain of crime and disorder.” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, email to residents, 29 September 2021.

“It’s not that all the crime happens during those wee hours of the morning. It is not fair that a few special interests that make generous campaign donations are allowed to damage the Miami Beach brand.”
Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine

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Details: People who feel crime has NOT worsened, offer these alternative explanations
Nothing’s Changed: factually speaking, crime has not meaningfully increased in Miami Beach.
“I think crime is the same. I’ve lived here for 10 years …. I walk at night alone and have never felt unsafe.” — South Beach resident Amanda K

“Did we forget the 80’s and 90’s? South beach and Miami Beach have never been better.”South Beach resident

“I work near South Beach & it doesn’t feel more unsafe to me.”North Beach resident

“Statistically the numbers don’t add up. Citywide crime has not gone up. It has at times gone down. However, the perception is that we are in a dangerous place. And people don’t feel safe.”City Commission Group 1 candidate Raquel Pacheco (who, for clarity, does support taking action to reduce crime.)

“I think that our concerns are valid even if the actual crime rate has flat-lined or has been going down in some categories [though] It doesn’t change that it doesn’t feel safe.”Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber (who, for clarity, has advanced proposals to reduce crime.)

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Only Temporary: the increase is temporary, related to pandemic impact on income and travel.
“We haven’t yet finished the negative economic impact of the pandemic”

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It’s Relative: crime may be worse, but Miami Beach remains safe; don’t overreact.
“Miami Beach needs smart solutions to complex problems. I moved here because the night life on Ocean Drive was one of a kind. While we need to get a handle on crime, particularly violent crime, there are smarter ways to do it than an earlier last call. We had curfews and people were still rowdy. The man that was shot a while back was shot in broad daylight. Smarter policing and cooperation from local clubs and security could have a huge impact”North Beach resident

“It is safe in South Beach. We frequent many parts of the beach night or day. Just be aware of your surroundings.”

“I have never had any problems and I live right on Ocean Drive and walk around everywhere.”

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Worse Problems: crime may be worse, but other local problems are more serious.

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Media exaggeration: the media need sensationalism to get people’s attention.

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Social Media: online sharing makes crime appear worse than it is.

“People are negative and post inaccurate things.” — South Beach resident Amanda K

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Survey Results (updated 15 October, 2021)

What you’ve read above is written explanations of people’s reasons for believing what they do regarding crime levels in Miami Beach.

We wanted to know how many people held each view. Accordingly, we conducted a survey in October 2021 to (a) identify the full range of rationales people hold for their views and (b) roughly assess which are most commonly shared.

Methodology details are at bottom. This was not a scientific survey; results are directional, not conclusive and should be considered in the context of broader data sources. We make no representations about its accuracy nor fitness for any purpose.

With those caveats, among those identifying as residing or working in Miami Beach, 80% responded that crime is a serious problem and 20% characterized it as no worse than historically. Those believing it a serious problem cited these causes:

Those asserting crime is no worse than historically pointed to these alternate explanations:

Observations on survey:

  • The responses shown in the charts are shorthand for the full text choices shown in the summary above.

Notes on Methodology:

The survey was conducted October 13 – (ongoing), 2021 within Miami-focused communities on NextDoor, Reddit and Facebook using surveybots executed through Surveybot/Facebook Messenger and SurveyMonkey. 145 respondents have participated thus far, 92 of them from Miami Beach. After polling where they lived, the survey inquired whether they believed crime was a serious current problem in Miami Beach. Based upon that answer, they were presented a list of alternative rationales supporting the position they chose and asked to indicate which among the list most closely aligned with their own views (the list of rationales was randomly sorted each time). They were then allowed to elaborate with free-form comments. If they conveyed rationales that were not included in the list earlier presented, those were then added to said list for future respondents to select from (this did not occur).

Notable limitations of the survey:

  • There are demo- and psycho-graphic skews associated with the survey pool being online-only.

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Divisive partisanship is preventing us from accomplishing “jack.”

Americans’ propensity to quickly leap to negative prejudgements of ideological opponents poisons our ability to interact with the teammates we need to advance our personal and national goals.

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