MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A string of violent crimes in Miami Beach, including a shooting along busy Washington Avenue, have prompted city leaders to pledge they will be stepping up police presence in the popular tourist destination.

Speaking with reporters Monday afternoon, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber did not mince words when he addressed the incidents that have sparked outrage and have raised lingering questions about safety in South Beach.

“What we saw over this weekend, what we’ve seen peeking its head up, or sometimes more than that, is just absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

The mayor was referring to the chilling moments when, police said, some sort of argument spilled out onto Washington Avenue and led a man to open fire along Washington Avenue, near Eighth Street, sending a woman and two men to the hospital, Sunday night.

Police later identified the suspect as 24-year-old Keshawn McLean of New York.

Gelber said the city will move swiftly in an attempt to make the streets of South Beach safe.

“We’re going to substantially increase the police force going forward,” he said. “I think, within 24 hours, 48 hours, we’re gonna have dozens of more police officers enforcing every ordinance we have.”

Monday’s news conference, held outside Miami Beach Police headquarters, comes days after, police said, an accidental shooting at the upscale restaurant Prime Italian, located south of Fifth Street, sent a man to the hospital with a leg injury.

One day earlier, three women in their 20s, who were visiting Miami Beach from Ohio, were targeted by an armed robber in broad daylight along the 500 block of 15th Street.

“He stepped out of the car, and he had a gun,” said one of the victims, who asked not to be identified.

“He had the gun right by my head,” said another victim as she fought back tears.

Police later arrested the suspect, identified as Tajani Shepard.

On Jan. 21, surveillance video captured four assailants beating and robbing a tourist across from Miami Beach Police headquarters. Police were able to apprehend three of the four suspects.

When asked if he has a message for the parents of the victims of Friday’s robbery, Gelber replied, “I’d apologize. I’m a parent. I have two daughters, 20 and 22.”

When asked if he would let his daughters go to South Beach, the mayor said, “No, my kids, I never let — I don’t send my kids to Ocean Drive.”

During the conference, Gelber stressed the crackdown on violent crimes begins now.

“This is not an ‘anything goes’ city. There are other cities like that. That’s how they advertise themselves; that’s who they say they are. We are not that city,” he said.

Gelber said Miami Beach Police will reach out to the Miami-Dade Police Department to assist with patrolling efforts in parts of the city.

If you have any information on any of these incidents, call Miami Beach Police or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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