Residents, politicians share concerns after latest crimes in Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Residents and politicians are sharing their concerns after two videos from Miami Beach over the weekend showed a valet being threatened and people running in fear for their lives after a shooting.

Surveillance video from Ocean Drive captured a man — who looked agitated after exchanging words with a valet — put his bag down and start to look inside it as people on the sidewalk scramble.

John Deutzman, who runs the Miami Beach Crime Prevention and Awareness Facebook page, described the incident that was caught on video.

“He goes after the valet and maybe he has a gun and maybe he doesn’t,” Deutzman said. “Everybody goes scattering.”

Nothing happened in the incident, but State Rep. Michael Grieco, D-Fla., said the reaction from people — along with recent crime events across the city — has left him worried.

“This is why I carry a gun,” he said.

Grieco, a former Miami Beach Commissioner, contends that he and other residents feel rattled after the most recent high-profile crimes.

A woman was shot and killed Sunday morning on South Beach. A pregnant woman was mugged on Mid Beach last Wednesday, and a bank robbery happened that same day.

Both Wednesday crimes have resulted in arrests, but Grieco and anti-crime advocates remain worried.

“I should not have to worry about my 10-year-old or my wife walking down the street at any time during the day or in the evening, but I do,” Grieco said.

Also a criminal defense attorney, Grieco posted a rant expressing similar feelings last week on Deutzman’s page. His post came before the 2 a.m. murder of a woman at the corner of 10th Street and Collins Avenue.

After that unsolved fatal shooting, security video showed people running scared in the street.

“We don’t live in the OK Corral,” Grieco said.

Deutzman echoes Grieco’s gripe about crime in the city.

“I think people here are frustrated, and they are afraid,” Deutzman said.

Deutzman added that many of the over 2,000 locals on his invite-only page feel the same way.

“Trouble makers feel very comfortable here, and the people who visit here, and the people who work here, and the people who live here feel uncomfortable,” Deutzman said. “It shouldn’t be in reverse!”

“This is scary stuff, and it all stems from the fact that, for whatever reason, there are people who don’t live here who feel that it’s OK to come here and comfortably mill around and commit crimes,” Grieco said. “Instead of excuses, I would love to be able to hear some solutions.”

Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements sent 7News a statement regarding the recent crimes.

“The residents and visitors on Miami Beach are safe and continue to be well protected by the men and women of the Miami Beach Police Department. In fact, statistics continue to show that there has not been a spike in crime on Miami Beach. The administration, the Mayor and Commission have and continue to provide the resources needed to ensure that our officers are able to do their job in preventing and solving crimes quickly. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that calls for service in Miami Beach have decreased, so I remind our residents and visitors that if they see something, say something by calling 911. Social media is not the avenue for reporting crime.”

Both Deutzman and Grieco said the police and their leadership are doing a good job and are the right people for the job.

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