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Home > Your Government > Office of the Mayor > Initiatives > Youth and Community Safety Initiative

Youth and Community Safety Initiative

My top priority as Mayor of Miami-Dade County is the safety and security of our 2.7 million residents and the millions who visit our community each year. Recently, shootings involving our youth have become more frequent. This is unacceptable and we must put an end to it. As a result, I have directed my administration to develop strategies to combat the criminal activity.

The Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), the Juvenile Services Department (JSD), and the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department (PROS), as well as CareerSource South Florida (CareerSource), are combining their efforts and resources in order to enhance youth and community safety. We are also collaborating with Florida International University (FIU), University of Miami (UM), community based organizations, and Miami-Dade residents to develop comprehensive and effective solutions.

These collaborative efforts have yielded proposed enhancements to the County’s services to help mitigate youth violence.  It is my intent to prioritize these programs and direct available resources to immediately implement solutions to keep our children safe. We need to continue to work together as a community to create a safer Miami-Dade for our children and for future generations. It takes all of us to protect all of us.

Miami-Dade Police

  • Double Up on Drug Tips
    Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) has set aside funding to develop and implement the "Double Up on Drug Tips" campaign. The plan of action will allow MDPD to match dollar-for-dollar (up to $2,000) any drug arrest and seizure paid by Crime Stoppers according to their established protocols.
  • Stop Youth Gun Violence
    Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) has set aside funding to be utilized to enhance reward monies, currently paid for crime tips leading to the arrest of individual(s) involved in the shooting of innocent juvenile(s) ages 17 and under. Moreover, the shooting incident must have occurred within the geographical boundaries of unincorporated MDC and the victim must not be a suspect in the investigation. Up to $20,000 per case.
  • DARE Program
    Currently, Miami-Dade Police Department DARE programs are servicing 67 schools within Miami-Dade County. MDPD will seek to expand the number of schools within the DARE program from the current number to 144 schools.
  • Gun Buy Back and Gun Bounty

    Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) will leverage Gun Buy Back events and enhance its Gun Bounty campaign to remove guns off the street. The Gun Buy Back events are meant to remove firearms from homes where owners no longer wish to have the weapon, eliminating the possibility of someone illegally obtaining the firearm.

    The Gun Bounty campaign will target those individuals who are in possession of firearms illegal. Gun Bounty tips aim to reward anonymous tipsters with $1000, for the arrest and seizure of the firearm.

  • License Plate Readers
    Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) is seeking to deploy license plate readers within the high crime areas to address violent crimes. The readers will be deployed strategically to help identify vehicles used in crimes.
  • Acoustic Gunfire Detection Solution
    Gunshot detection devices will be deployed in the high crime areas to help identify shooting locations expeditiously and assist with investigations. The devices pinpoint locations where casings may be recovered, even though no victims were located. The casings are later sent to the lab and processed for comparisons. Police are dispatched instantly to gunshot incidents and the chance of apprehension increases.

Miami-Dade Juvenile Services

  • Youth Outreach Unit (YOU)

    The Youth Outreach Unit (YOU) will work in concert with the Miami-Dade Police Department, Miami-Dade Juvenile Services Department, the Department of Juvenile of Justice and community-based organizations to develop a level of trust and legitimacy in the targeted communities. Officers assigned to the YOU also engage neighbors and seek to address quality of life concerns for the neighborhood as well. The YOU will be responsible for gaining trust and establishing legitimacy in the targeted communities by combining community oriented policing practices and social service connections in a non-traditional policing manner.

    A component of this plan will include targeting a small group of at-risk juveniles with the purpose of establishing rapport, fostering a nurturing environment, and serving as a role model and mentor for these children to look up to. 

    The YOU will not only target the juvenile offender, but the family unit as a whole, and attempt to identify areas in which social service partners can provide interventions to stabilize the affected families.

    These services may include:

    • family counseling,
    • job placement,
    • substance abuse treatment, and 
    • the fostering of an environment where everyone in the family unit feels they have a duty to be a guardian of the children within the community. 

    Officers assigned to the YOU will also engage neighbors and seek to address quality of life concerns for the neighborhood as well.

  • Early Identification of High Risk Juvenile Offenders Program
    The Juvenile Assessment Center is a centralized processing facility for all juveniles taken into custody by Law Enforcement. The JAC is uniquely positioned to identify the youth most at-risk of re-offending. This information is presently provided to the Juvenile Justice Partners at the time of intake. We propose to enhance this process by sharing this information with Law Enforcement Agencies to facilitate coordinated services and supervision. Programming is scheduled to begin April 2016.
  • Family Functional Therapy

    According to evidence-based assessments conducted on at-risk youth, the consistent number one service need is Family Therapy. Due to the frequent waiting list throughout the county, additional slots are needed.

    Family Functional Therapy, operated by the Institute of Child and Family Health, Inc., works with troubled youth and their families to address delinquency, substance abuse, and violence. It is a short-term treatment strategy that is built on a foundation of respect for individuals, families and cultures, and includes powerful treatment strategies that pave the way for motivating individuals and families to become more adaptive and successful in their own lives.

  • Community Action Team (CAT) Program

    Research consistently indicates that many youth involved in the delinquency system have mental health diagnosis and are in need of stabilization services to function within their family unit and their community.

    The Community Action Team (CAT) Program, operated by the Institute of Child and Family Health, Inc., works with youth who have a mental health diagnosis and are at-risk of future out of home placement due to a severe history of failed treatments, hospitalizations, involvement with law enforcement, problems in school or other circumstances. A team which includes Psychiatrist, Therapist, Case Manager, and Mentor works with the family to provide counseling and support services.

  • Juvenile Weapon Offenders Program (JWOP)

    Currently, the Department of Juvenile Justice refers children with weapon charges, including firearms to Juvenile Weapon Offenders Program (JWOP). However, over the years there has been a need to increase the number of slots allocated, due to the increase in the number of youth arrested with firearms. 

    The JWOP is an intensive 3-6 months program for male offenders, delivered in a trauma setting including psycho-educational groups and peer counseling.

  • Stop Now and Plan (SNAP)

    In our community we have limited age and gender specific interventions addressing the specific needs of vulnerable young offenders.

    Research indicates that one of the best predictors of future criminality is the age of first contact with the juvenile justice system. The Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) Program, operated by the Institute of Child and Family Health, Inc., focuses on reducing police contact and/or involvement with the justice system among a population of high risk boys (12 years of age and under) that are at risk of engaging in continued criminal activity.

    SNAP is an evidence-based behavioral model that provides a more positive framework for children struggling with behavior issues. This includes effective emotional regulation, self-control and problem-solving skills. Slots are needed in multiple locations throughout Miami-Dade County.

Miami-Dade Parks

  • After-school Programs

    Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department (PROS) received funding to serve at-risk children residing in the 10 highest crime areas. The FIT2Play Program will include free of charge after-school and mentoring services for 400 at-risk children ages 12-14.

    Afterschool activities will include:

    • sports,
    • dance,
    • music,
    • tutoring,
    • leadership building, and
    • health components.

    Juvenile Services Department staff is a part of the program development workgroup. Workgroup members include the Florida International University and the University of Miami. Programming is scheduled to begin April 2016.

  • Employment Opportunities

    This year, Miami-Dade Parks received $3 million in funding to create Fit 2 Lead, a free after-school and mentoring program for 400 at-risk children ages 12- 14, who participate in activities designed with Florida International University and the University of Miami that include leadership, character building, sports development, tutoring and healthy living. Also included in this funding is the Fit 2 Lead Internship Program that serves one hundred 15-17 year old at-risk and system involved youth residing in Liberty City and South Dade.

    The Parks Department, University of Miami, Florida International University and Juvenile Services Department have developed a curriculum for this internship funded by Career Force that includes: time management, leadership skills, community engagement and career development in recreation planning, urban development, health, biology and related park professions to equip participants with the skills they need in preparation for college and future employment. Both programs are scheduled for launch in April 2016.

CareerSource South Florida

  • CareerSource South Florida

    CareerSource South Florida assists youth and young adults between the ages of 14-21 to continue their education and training in order to advance their skills and pursue the best jobs possible. In-School and Out-Of-School programs are coordinated youth program partners.