Trashing the Neighborhood: Miami residents look to block off streets to deter prostitution, littering

(WSVN) - A group of homeowners are fed up with what they say is a nasty problem. They say they have a solution, but no one is willing to help. The Nightteam’s Kevin Ozebek looks at what’s trashing the neighborhood.

Anyone taking a walk around this Miami neighborhood has to make sure to watch his or her step.

Kevin Ozebek: “This is not something you want to step on.”

Aurora Linares: “No, and the thing is you don’t even want to see it!”

But this is what people are seeing outside their homes: used condoms and broken liquor bottles.

Aurora Linares and her neighbors say they find this kind of trash on every block.

Kevin Ozebek: “Raise your hand if you have seen a condom along your neighborhood swales?”

They took 7News for a walk in their Flagami neighborhood to show us the problem.

They say the trash is coming from unwanted late night visitors.

Emily Maza, homeowner: “People park to conduct, uh, sexual activities, and they leave behind the items that they use to conduct their sexual activities.”

Prostitutes work this strip of motels along Southwest Eighth Street and make their way into Aurora’s neighborhood.

Aurora Linares, homeowner: “They’ve exposed themselves. They opened up their shirt and exposed their breasts to me!”

After the prostitutes are picked up, neighbors say the men drive onto their streets, where they find plenty of dark and quiet places.

Aurora Linares: “They can easily access our neighborhood streets because they’re not blocked off from where the motels are.”

This is the area where the motels are, and it’s a quick drive into this quiet family neighborhood. People who live here want the city to block these five avenues that meet the back of the motels.

Emily Maza: “I would love to see some of the avenues closed off to deter people from coming into our neighborhood.”

Neighbors hope that by blocking traffic, it will keep illegal activity off their streets, and this kind of trash off their swales.

Aurora Linares: “We’ve emailed multiple times on what needs to be done. Right now, we have not been given any clarity or any understanding of who we need to speak with, who can we work with to get this completed.”

Aurora says her attempts to get help from the City of Miami have left her frustrated.

Aurora Linares: “Somebody to tell us what the process is, and we will do all the leg work that we need to make this process happen.”

7News did some legwork, too.

We reached out to the city and spoke to District 4 Commissioner Manolo Reyes.

Commissioner Manolo Reyes: “They want to stop the traffic, but there’s a process. I welcome that process. I welcome that they start the process.”

To start the process, they have to get neighbors to sign a petition.

Once that’s done, a traffic study would have to be completed.

The city would also ask all residents in the neighborhood to vote on the idea, and then, even if the city approves the plan, it still has to go to the county.

Manolo Reyes: “The transportation department in Miami-Dade County, they are the ones that have the last word.”

The neighbors welcome the challenge.

Aurora Linares: “It may take a long time, like he says, but if we don’t start it now, it will never happen.”

They say the time and effort are worth it to keep people from trashing their neighborhood.

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