We Need To Be Vigilant: If You See Something Say Something
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
April 6, 2023
Over the past few months there has been a rash of smash and grabs in our City. This is where a car with an individual or more will drive into an area, hop out, break into cars and then leave. The two main areas this has occurred was along Golden Isles Drive and recently on Diplomat Parkway. The criminals have been coming in during the early morning hours. In one incident they damaged more than 30 cars. For the victims of these crimes the crime rate went up 100 percent.
All in all, for a city of almost 40,000 people our crime rate is low. These days it seems like a lot of crime due to the speed in which we all receive information. The constant news cycle adds to this awareness. Crime is certainly not new. A few years back we had a rash of these crimes in Three Islands. This means we all cannot let our guards down and need to be vigilant when it comes to our property and surroundings. In some cases, there are some measures we can take, but there is not much that can be done with these types of crimes.
We as elected officials receive incident reports from crimes that occur. This policy was reestablished a few years ago when Chief Michel took over as Chief. It ensures that we are aware of what crime is taking place. These incidents thankfully have not involved bodily harm but do come with them the cost of mental distress and worry.
Last month, I attended a meeting at one of the condominiums that fell victim to trespass and vandalism. Our Chief and two other LEOs attended the meeting to address concerns. I need to note while in some cases there are cameras there are not always clear shots of the perpetrators or the vehicle tags. In addition, many items in these cases when stolen are not marked with serial numbers. This makes solving the crime extremely difficult. I want our readers to know that our department takes all crime seriously and do pursue all possible leads.
When discussing these crimes residents always ask where the police are. We have patrol vehicles out in what are called zones. In the City, we have five. In addition to patrols there are other supervisors and detectives that are on the road. Officers obliviously move around their respective zones. They will take breaks and / or stop to fill out reports. There is not any city that can have police on every corner at all times during the day.
This is where residents can help. I know many of us have heard time and time again. “If you see something, say something.” You can help by calling in suspicious activity right away. If you have cameras let our police know. Also, there are ways to help deter crime. Fencing, gates, cameras and not leaving items in the cars. Even with these countermeasures there is no guarantee that crime will not happen.
In a recent meeting I was asked about the Safe Neighborhood Districts. SNDs are geographical areas that are established by the voters in the area to add an additional layer of security protection. Some are private and others are not. The two in our City are public roads. This means vehicles cannot be stopped and questioned. In Golden Isles, the vehicles are stopped at a stop sign and their tags are read. There is a guard but they cannot ask people where they are headed. In Three islands there are no guards. In addition to the gatehouses there is roaving patrol.
I have to tell readers there is still crime in the SNDs. They are only deterrents. There will never be 100 percent reduction in crime. These types of districts still can be established but it is a process. Owners within the district upon approval of the City Government must hold a vote to tax themselves for the additional costs. An advisory board is set up and the City becomes the Board Of Directors. The costs to run the district depends on what type of improvements the residents want put in place. It can be additional lighting, cameras, security guards, additional patrols or all of the above.
Some like to debate the effectiveness of these measures. Some argue they are a waste of money. I could not disagree more. We all need to do what is possible to deter crime. If it gives any criminal pause to think about not perpetrating a crime it's worth it.
I am so sorry that many of our residents have had to suffer the fall out of these crimes. They not only cost mental distress but time and money. Our police and I will welcome the opportunity to come out and discuss these issues. Our Police Department will also evaluate properties to make recommendations on better security free of charge.
As always, I am available for your questions, concerns and ideas to help make our City a better place. Please feel free to reach out to me at my Office: (954) 457-1318. On my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. Or email me at: email@example.com.
Wishing all our readers a Blessed Passover and Easter!