This week I want to share with you information about Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County’s 41st annual awards ceremony, which will be held Oct. 7 at the Doubletree Hotel & Miami Airport Convention Center.
We are proud to announce our keynote speaker will be Miami-Dade Police Director Juan J. Perez; our master of ceremonies once again will be former news reporter Brian Andrews, now a media consultant and president of The News Directors. We are very grateful to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, honorary chairman, for supporting the event and our programs.
This event is very special because it gives us the opportunity to recognize the many residents in our community associated with our Neighborhood Watch programs across the county, who are helping to make a serious difference in the reduction of crime. They are truly the “eyes and ears” of our local law enforcement.
We also recognize the police officers who work hand in hand with these crime watchers to better serve our community. This past year, we have seen untimely deaths of residents, including children, through random acts of violence. These Neighborhood Resource Officers have truly made a difference by working closely with the neighborhoods in order to stop some of this horrible violence, especially working with the children.
According to authorities, our crime rate is down, which is good. But many of the aforementioned issues could have been prevented if people just worked together. Our theme this year: “Blessed are the Peacemakers for they are our Protectors” #Back the Badge.
Yes, we can all make a difference by working with our police, elected officials and residents. Our crime watchers are trained to look for certain actions, certain irregularities, and most of all, trained in calling the police — the one thing that most people don’t do! As I have said many times, “police officers do not have mental telepathy,” so you have to make that call to make that difference in your neighborhood.
We are also very pleased that several of our elected officials from the county and municipal governments have stepped up to the plate and are sponsoring tables for many of the crime watchers to attend. Last year, we had more than 500 people in attendance. It was a great evening for new crime watchers, as well as older groups in getting to know each other. For those who would like to participate with us in this event, you can visit our website, www.citizenscrimewatch.org, or call our office. Tickets start at $60 per person. Hope to see many of you there!
Now on an extremely important subject that has horrified me: loaded handguns left in parked cars. In the past few weeks, I have received emails from readers about cars with loaded guns being broken into. In one neighborhood, a driver left their car unlocked and someone stole a fully loaded Sig Sauer 9mm semiautomatic handgun.
According to law enforcement, it is not against the law to leave a loaded gun in a car, but for God’s sake, where is the moral responsibility? Then we wonder how criminals get their guns. Please keep those weapons out of your car — or at least lock your car.
Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 305-470-1670.