Officials speak out about Coral Gables robberies
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (WSVN) -- Several back-to-back robberies in one South Florida neighborhood has residents and business owners concerned.
An armed robbery occurred on Miracle Mile on Tuesday night. Last Sunday, there was a midday purse snatching on Giralda Avenue. Another purse snatching on Saturday occurred on Le Jeune Road, just north of Miracle Mile, which left a tourist with cuts and bruises all over her body when she tried to retrieve her passport from the crooks.
Earlier this month, a purse was stolen from a table at a Coral Gables restaurant. "I had a laptop, a snatch and go, and also a purse about a week ago," said business owner and theft victim Rachel Dominguez.
Residents from the Riviera Country Club neighborhood met with city officials on Thursday night after a series of burglaries along Santa Maria Street.
"These property crimes could very easily turn into a violent incident," said Commissioner Ralph Cabrera, who is running for mayor of the city. The mayoral candidate said there are not enough police officers on the streets. "In fact, there's even talks about reducing the average number of patrol officers at any given shift from as high as we've had it, 12, to as low as seven," said Cabrera.
Coral Gables Police Chief Scott Masington said Cabrera's statement is false, and there are no plans to reduce the number of officer. "That is an inaccurate statement. The 12 that he's referring to I believe is specifically uniform patrol officers," said Masington.
According to city manager Pat Salerno, the number in decline is that of specific crimes. "In 2008, armed robberies, 32. In 2009, 20," said Salerno.
Salerno cited the year-after-year decrease in robberies. According to records, the city did see a 16.8 percent increase in total crime from 2010 to 2011.
Salerno said the numbers have changed since then. "If you look at it overall, incidents of crime in the city from calendar year 11 to calendar year 12, it is down 1.2 percent," he said.
Coral Gables resident Ivette Vazquez said, "I've been living here for two years now, and I haven't notice any increased," said Vazquez.
"You have to be on your guard about things because people are just lurking around, and recently it's been a lot more then usual," said Dominguez.
Coral Gables mayoral elections are scheduled for April 9.
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