Miami Beach mayor to propose increased police presence inside Ocean Drive bars

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber will propose an ordinance that would put uniformed off-duty police officers inside Ocean Drive bars that stay open past midnight in the city’s entertainment district.

Speaking to 7News on Tuesday, Gelber said the city needs to be safer, especially in the entertainment district on Ocean Drive between Fifth and 15th streets.

When asked if people believe they can do whatever they please in Miami Beach, Gelber said, “I think at times, especially late at night, there’s a confluence of ‘This a party, that we’re gonna do stuff that we might not do at home.'”

In an email sent to residents on Tuesday, Gelber said that when crime happens in Miami Beach, tourists are usually the victims.

“Less than 2.5% of our residents were the victims of crimes last year,” he wrote.

When asked how the city would pay for the off-duty officers, Gelber said, “Well, the bars will pay for it.”

The mayor is expected to run the proposal by commissioners to iron out the details.

“Once you get into the wee hours, it feels like it’s just not as safe as it needs to be,” he added. “The reason why most of the crimes are on tourists is that there’s 15 million visitors and only 92,000 residents, so any crime that happens in our city is more likely to occur on that huge number of people. Virtually everyone who comes here and leaves, comes without anything happening to them.”

Whether it is problems on the street or on the sand, Gelber said police are working to keep crime down across the city.

The mayor added that tourists who come to the city with money in their pocket, sometimes without knowing the language or their surroundings, can be prime targets.

“Don’t come to our city to do what you wouldn’t do in your own home,” Gelber said.

The mayor is expected to propose the ordinance during a Wednesday morning city commission meeting to commissioners and others.

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