Aventura residents can expect to see motorcycle officers in the city again as part of several crime prevention actions approved at last week’s City Commission meeting.
Commissioners approved $63,000 to lease two Harley-Davidson motorcycles and buy uniforms and helmets for two officers, who recently completed a two-week motorcycle training course.
Aventura had a motorcycle police unit about seven years ago but it was stopped because officers weren’t interested in the assignment, said Police Chief Steve Steinberg. The unit is back due to renewed interest.
The motorcycle officers are expected to hit the streets in some of the heavier traffic areas including Biscayne Boulevard near Aventura Mall, Miami Gardens Drive and Ives Diary Road. The unit should be up and running in October.
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“The motorcycles are more maneuverable than cars and can get in and out of traffic easier,” Steinberg said.
Commissioners also approved a resolution renewing their commitment to the Multi-Agency Gang Task Force in Miami-Dade County. The city has been active for 16 years in the agency, which brings neighboring police departments together to combat gangs.
“Gangs can be a problem,” Steinberg said. “If they are, it is a way for multiple agencies to band together and deal with them.”
Steinberg noted that Aventura used the task force several years ago when there was a report of gang members at Aventura Mall. More than 30 officers from the task force responded to the call.
“We had no problems that night,” Steinberg said. “We averted any problems with just a show of officers.”
The number of officers the city provides to the task force varies depending on the manpower needed for an incident, Steinberg said.
“Crime is a fluid thing,” Steinberg said. “Gang members just don’t stay in their area. They move all over the county.”
Commissioners also authorized the appropriation of $12,000 for programs to prevent identity theft elder abuse, and drug use by kids, Steinberg said. The funds will also be used to conduct site surveys for businesses and residents. Upon request, an officer tours the establishment and provides crime prevention tips such as cutting shrubs, installing lights and reinforcing doors to reduce the chance of a crime.
The funds for the crime prevention programs will be taken from police forfeiture funds, City Manager Eric Soroka said. Under state law, if a crime is a committed, a city can request the forfeiture of any funds or items involved with the crime. The proceeds go to the police department.