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Safety Initiative Town Hall | Palmetto Bay Events

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a Village Safety Initiative Town Hall meeting at Dr. Henry Perrine Academy of the Arts sponsored by Karyn Cunningham.  Aside from the great discussion, kids were welcome and entertained with pizza, juice and coloring.  Officer Peter Judge was on hand to color with the munchkins while the parents got down to the nitty gritty.

Many topics were discussed, however the topics that took the most of the discussion were crime, traffic, and services provided by The Village of Palmetto Bay Police Department.  Major Serralta was on hand to begin the discussion and put things into perspective.  

Crime.  Despite what you hear on various Palmetto bay social media sites, crime in Palmetto Bay is down.  This was confusing to participants who were concerned about car break-ins that seem to be happening with more and more frequency throughout the village.

Cunningham and Major Serralta were very sympathetic and explained that they understand that when your home or car is violated, it feels like crime is at a 100% increase.  However, the numbers indicate that these types of crimes are on the decline based on the reported numbers.  Reported numbers are important here because Major Serralta pointed out that one issue with the discrepancy between what the Village feels like is happening and what the PD has record of happening are different.  Many a time car break-ins go unreported to the police.  I myself am not sure of why someone would not report the crime but it was discussed that victims who may have left their car door open or people who would not be calling insurance companies, did not need to make a report.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  The VPBPD allocates officers based on the need in a particular area.  They are looking for trends in certain areas. The image below explains this grid system.  If issues are not reported, for any reason the numbers are skewed and therefore police presence will be where the need is perceived to be based on the crimes reported.  The police are here and wanting to work for us, but we have to help them help us and let them know where they need to be.

Traffic.  It was also addressed as it is a big concern for all residents.  In addition to the amount of traffic, participants brought up concerns about the timing of certain lights, speed humps, and the running of stop signs.  Major Serralta replied to almost all traffic concerns with the same answer, let us know about he said.  The department is more than happy to post an officer at a stop sign, or investigate the timing of a specific light and reset the time counter for said light.  Citations are being given out in record numbers and as a department, they are surpassing the number of tickets given in our neighboring communities to the North and South.

Services.  I was pleased to see the willingness to be transparent on behalf of the police department.  It was mentioned many times that facts and figures are available and the help understanding them or questions concerning them are only a phone call away.  Secondly, the community outreach department of our police have programs in place to help keep us safe that they would like to see more people utilize.  Officers trained in methods to safeguard a home or business are available to come out to you and provide a free safety inspection.  They will look at locks, lighting, landscaping etc.  They will suggest ways to make your home or business safer.  My favorite service that was discussed is just for the ladies.  A safety initiative for women has been developed and aims at teaching women things they can do to make themselves safer when walking home at night, in a parking lot, etc.  This seminar is free of charge and can be done in your home with a group of friends.  View video

So much was discussed and it was really a pleasure to attend.  I felt a sincere willingness to be a public servant on behalf of the police Department and Councilwoman Cunningham.  However, I must admit I was disheartened to see the dismal number of citizens in attendance.  A quick glance on social media or various app’s for the Village seem to showcase a lot of disdain towards how the city is handling things like car break-ins and traffic.  I can't help but wonder why with such a willing and able village government, we don't have more people showing up to address this concerns. Your Council wants to hear from and work for you along with the Village of Palmetto bay Police Department.  Call, email, or show up to the various meetings held each month.  Either way, we have to be the change we want to see.

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