Community Voices

Crime Watch: Citizens Crime Watch celebrates 40 years of community service

Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell
Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell

On Oct. 2, Citizens Crime Watch will celebrate its 40th annual awards ceremony. We will be recognizing our law enforcement partners as well as our dedicated Crime Watchers.

It’s hard to believe that 40 years have gone by. As a nonprofit, that is a long time. Many of our partners have endured many changes in our county and yet they have continued to help fight crime in their neighborhoods.

Although our budgets have decreased over the years we continue to assist residents in their endeavor for a better community. I started with Crime Watch in the early 1980s, when my neighborhood in Hialeah was totally devastated during the Mariel era. We learned to work together with police even though there was a language problem. At that time, only a few officers spoke Spanish, so I became the “translator” for the area. It took a couple of years to clean up the neighborhood, but we did it as a team.

At this year’s event, state Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, will be keynote speaker. As in the past, Brian Andrews will be our master of ceremonies. Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz will once again be the event chairman. Last year, we had about 500 in attendance and we hope that this year we can surpass that number.

The awards dinner begins 6 p.m. Oct. 2 at DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Airport and Convention Center, 711 NW 72nd Ave.

If you are interested in attending, visit our website: I look forward to meeting you.

New scam in town

There’s a new scam going around, according to an email I received this week from reader Julio Vitale:

“Dear Carmen:

You published a letter I sent on ID theft. This is another case that your readers should be aware of.

People are receiving phone calls with a recording saying, “This is Focus Receivables Management, a debt collector agency. Please call urgently to 866-664-2512.”

I did some research and there are many complaints about this company. It seems to be a scam for ID theft.

They usually call three times a day. This is a great annoyance to the family. I called the number and after different switching, I ended up with a call center, the customer service girl warned me that all information will be used against me to collect debts.

I told them that I was reporting them to the Economic Police Division because they were trying to steal my identity. They never called back I heard of many people receiving these calls, they need to verify all your information (and steal it) to check if you are the debtor or not.”

We need to continue to be aware that there are people trying everything to steal your identity.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.