Once known for its glitzy nightclubs and posh restaurants, Miami Beach isn’t even a shadow of what at one time drew thousands of elitists to the exclusive hotspot. Today, Miami Beach still draws thousands, but they’re a far cry from the pearl-draped money mongers of long ago. Violence and mayhem have spilled into the streets and all but destroyed what little resemblance remains of the once quaint and picturesque beach town.
Police and local citizens finally reached their breaking points when a tourist who was dining with his family on a restaurant patio was shot and killed. Dustin Wakefield was just 21-years-old and was shielding his one-year-old child when the bullets started flying. The child and his wife survived.
The gunman, 22-year-old Tamarius Davis, told police that he “was high on mushrooms, which made him feel empowered.” The cops have vowed to increase their troop strength and to start cracking down like a wrecking crew, ASAP. They want their town back and they aim to get it.
City Manager Alina Hudak issued a memo saying, “The many years of troubling incidents in this district can no longer be tolerated,” It further read how South Miami Beach is about to “create the highest level of regular police presence this area has ever seen.”
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber called on not only the police, but he’s also ordered the sanitation department, fire-rescue personnel, meter-maids, and other city departments and workers to put their heads together to find a solution. The police department agreed to assign an additional battalion of 40 officers to patrol the area 24/7, seven days a week. In addition, Dade County will provide 10 of its officers to help out on weekends when tsunamis of unruly party-goers invade the town.
During spring break this past March the city was forced to impose an 8 PM curfew after swarms of drunk partiers took the streets. The crowd destroyed restaurants and storefronts, fights broke out everywhere, and all of them ignored local mask mandates. Over 1,000 arrests were made.
Hudak’s memo said, “It is no longer sufficient to treat what has historically been defined as “high impact periods” as anomalies when every weekend brings significant crowds and challenges.” He said the chaotic partygoers were presenting a “year-round threat to public safety from visitors who have demonstrated a blatant disregard for human life, public property [sic] and the well-being of our many law-abiding residents and guests.”
So far this year the police have confiscated over 500 guns and they’ve now set up 870 surveillance cameras at various locations to better monitor activity day and night. The mayor said, “Every few days, I call a police officer who has been injured in the line of duty. Few cities face these challenges or ask as much of police.”
Wakefield’s killing happened in front of many witnesses at 6:30 PM when it was still light outside. As a result, the crime immediately made headline news. Mayor Gerber said that what hasn’t made such headline splashes are the fatal stabbing that happened earlier in the same week or the daily early morning gunfire reports they have to respond to. “We cannot, we cannot accept this as our normal,” he said.
Gerber said the city cannot keep up the additional police presence forever but this will give them time to rezone. This means that some bars and restaurants will be forced to either close or relocate as more office buildings and such replace them. Great news for the terrified residents. Not so great for the business owners who are left with hard decisions, but the city has no other recourse.
The mayor is also mandating an earlier hour for the remaining bars to call out for the last round. “What we have called an entertainment district has become an incredible magnet for crime and disorder and whatever it provides in revenue is just not worth the heartache,” he said.
Drastic times call for drastic measures and Miami Beach has no problem with swinging the hammer at the vermin element who have turned their Utopia into a living hell. Unless entering a warzone is your thing, you may want to steer clear of there for a while in case you had plans.