MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Tuesday’s tourist tragedy is the latest of recent crimes on South Beach. Many in the community are now fed up with the violence and are calling for change.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said this recent tragedy is another reason the entertainment district has to go.
“Kind of freaks you out, definitely,” said Maria Galluzo, who is visiting from Bermuda, “especially in the middle of the day.”
“It’s scary to think that it happened right here, so lively and lots of people out,” said Mark Andrews visiting from Bermuda.
Those who know South Beach well, such as the owner of the Sherbrook Hotel, Mitch Novick said this horrific crime is no surprise.
“I blame the city entirely, the closure of Ocean Drive,” he said. “It has only fueled what is a circus midway with their block party permits.”
Novick said the entertainment district and blocked off Ocean Drive have become a breeding ground for trouble.
“Until we get rid of this entertainment district, and really, truly get rid of it, I don’t know why we expect something’s gonna change,” Gelber said.
Getting rid of the district isn’t so easy.
The crowds bring in big money for some of the businesses that have enough power, according to the mayor, to block any change.
“At the end of the day, this is an area that attracts a lot of disorder, a lot of people wanna fight, a lot of people who come with guns, a lot of people who are taking drugs and that creates a very, very challenging mix,” Gelber said.
A challenging mix that Miami Beach Police officers are facing.
“Channel 7 themselves have, over the past years, shown dozens upon dozens of photos of rifles, of guns taken off the street by our officers,” said Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez. “We’re not here to hide any of that. That is what our officers are dealing with, and that is what they’re tasked with each and every day.”
Miami Beach Police said they continue to step up patrols, especially on the weekends, to keep everyone safe.
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