Miami-Dade Police launch holiday crime initiative

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The holiday season is here, and for many, it’s an exciting and fun time to celebrate, but for some, it means more opportunity to commit crimes.

Miami-Dade Police want people to know that they are ready to catch the Grinches who may steal your Christmas joy.

“We know that while most are trying to enjoy the holidays, some will try to steal their joy,” Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said.

The department kicked off the holiday crime initiative Friday morning at the Falls in Southwest Miami-Dade.

The initiative means more uniformed and undercover officers patrolling throughout the county with a focus on malls, shopping centers and other popular areas during the holiday season.

“We’re looking for anything out of the ordinary. We’re looking for the individual that may come and walk around the parking lots instead of walking in the mall,” Officer Scott Diaz said. “Usually to us, that’s very suspicious because that means they’re watching the people. They’re not here to shop.”

However, police said there is a lot people can do to protect themselves. They recommend that they pay attention to what’s happening around them, and if they see something, say something.

“The most important thing is to remember that no tip is too small,” Miami-Dade Police Maj. Brian Rafy said.

“These measures may include being alert about their surroundings at all times, parking in well lit areas, following the Lock It or Lose It campaign,” Perez said.

It’s also important to remember when people are bringing their items back to their car, be sure to put them in the trunk and not in the back seat in plain view, especially if they are going back for more, and always lock the vehicle’s doors.

“There are people that are coming to the malls that are going to dedicate themselves to ruining your holidays,” Perez said. “They’re going to look into vehicles. They’re going to try door handles. They’re going to be peering through glass.”

Perez added that car break-ins happen year-round, but there are more during the holidays. That is why he says the more people are looking out for each other, the more helpful for officers.

“People are very good about reporting things, and if they see something suspicious, they do give us a call,” Diaz said.

“What we’re asking is everybody to do their part. We will do the apprehension. We will do the arrest. We will come to the aid, but it takes all of us to keep us safe. All of us,” Perez said.

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