Coffee with the Community: Fighting crime
By: Diana Bello Aristizábal
Doral has always been a safe and family-oriented municipality in which the crime and delinquency rate is one of the lowest in Miami-Dade County. Recently, however, some of our neighbors have become targets of criminal acts, such as bicycles or mail thefts, which threaten to disturb the peace.
This topic was at the forefront of our latest ‘Coffee with the Community’ where our guests shared their views on it, and how it could be addressed to prevent further damage.
According to Beliza Perozo, one of the reasons that aggravates this problem is that many residents tend to be extremely trusting and do not take precautionary measures, such as locking their bicycles, homes or vehicles. “What happened is that we were used to leaving things outside without any kind of protection, because nobody stole anything but that has changed.”
Regarding this, Councilwoman Claudia Mariaca explained that the rapid expansion of our City in recent years, which now has more restaurants and entertainment options, as well as the overpopulation have led to an increase in crime.
“Good things sometimes bring bad things and this is a clear example of that, because now people know where Doral is and 90% of crimes are committed by people who do not live here, are passing through or coming to work. We are no longer an unknown destination and that is why we have to protect our community.”
In her opinion, this is not an exclusive Doral problem as in fact some places within the county have a higher crime rate. Therefore, the responsibility of taking care of the City is mainly in our hands. “The police cannot be in a place before a crime is committed,” she says.
With citizen responsibility, Councilwoman Mariaca refers to having our eyes wide open to notice what is happening around us in order to track suspicious behavior or people in a timely manner.
If there is suspicious activity inside a condominium, for example, the police can be contacted to check the cameras located in common areas. “The police have access to them, and while it arrives at a place after a report is made, they can monitor what is going on, recognizing the possible criminal, the vehicle they are driving or the clothes they are wearing.”
And protecting the community does not mean complaining on social media, which often leads to exhausting and useless discussions, as many people think, but taking advantage of the meetings for citizens the City organizes where concerns and solutions can be shared.
“In November 2021 we held a neighborhood meeting and there were only four people. We have to put aside indifference and react to the issues that concern us all. If people do not speak up, there is not much that can be done. You have to complaint through official channels (City of Doral App or Doral Police Department),” adds the Councilwoman.
Lieutenant Martínez agrees with this point of view and explains that it’s important to contact the authorities if we see something. “A lot of people say they saw something or know something is going on but when you ask them if they made a call about it, you find out they never did. We can’t address a problem if we never learn about it.”
Zaida Ramírez says the population increase is affecting Doral. “I am concerned that new people are arriving in our community that are uneducated because one notices it in supermarkets or in public places. Many have economic needs and that is why they commit crimes. I think there should be more control by the police.”
In this regard, Lieutenant Martínez says the Police always take action whenever they learn of a case or several that affect a certain community. “Once we heard cars were being stolen in a place and we went door to door handing out flyers. But we need the help of our neighbors.”
Eleazar Medina, for his part, says the main problem that leads not only to increased crime but also to such marked indifference is that there is not sense of belonging. “The sense of belonging is born with education and knowledge. We have to establish more direct channels of communication with people and get to know each other.”
In this regard, Claudia Mariaca says that although complaints on social media are not very useful, sharing relevant information about what is happening in the City through chats or social networks can be a positive thing. “This is a way to spread knowledge and educate the community. The City works with the help of each one of us, we must work together.”
One thought on “Coffee with the Community: Fighting crime”
” Recently, however, some of our neighbors have become targets of criminal acts, such as bicycles or mail thefts ”
There are plenty of people in these gated communities who have had packages delivered to the wrong address and mail carriers place small packages in wrong mail slot and they never got the package because a neighbor kept it .
I know 3 women where I live who in last 5 years had this happen , thus the thinking that those who live in your community are ” better ” then those who do not is flawed .