Florida International University
A group of community leaders and activists hit the pavement Tuesday evening, going door-to-door through a Liberty City neighborhood to encourage residents to join the struggle against crime on their streets.
The “Zero Tolerance Zone” campaign spearheaded by the Liberty City Trust is another effort to stem crime in the aftermath of a series of drive-by shootings and robberies, one outside Jordan Grove Missionary Baptist Church from where the group began its campaign.
The effort focuses on the neighborhood between Northwest 12th and 15th avenues and between Northwest 58th and 62nd streets.
“I wish you all would have come sooner,” said Rosemary Green, who lives on Northwest 59th Street, complaining that two all-terrain vehicles were stolen from behind her building only a few nights earlier. “It takes time but we all have to work together.”
The Zero Tolerance campaign brings together several organizations and public agencies concerned about crime in the community. Other sponsors include People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality (PUSH), Holy Redeemers Citizens Crime Watch of Liberty City and the Miami Police Department.
Area residents were invited to participate Tuesday but, aside from individuals associated with the sponsors, few did.
That didn’t faze Elaine Black, Liberty City Trust president.
“This is not for the world,” she said. “It’s a small group of people who are really committed to helping this area.”
Pastor Anthony Tate, president of PULSE, said the campaign is about reassuring residents their voices are heard.
As they spoke with residents, organizers handed out postcards which residents can fill out anonymously to report crime, as well as numbers for anonymous telephone crime-tip lines.
They also collected information for a survey seeking to determine what residents think are the area’s most important problems.
“We want to take the information and use it to help us develop programs to better service this area,” Black said.
As the volunteers walked the streets, they were met with vacant houses and a few reluctant residents, one of whom hurried inside after hearing the word “police.”
Some, like lifelong Liberty City resident Sandra Stucky, are concerned the campaign will peter out.
“It will work if they follow through,” she said.
Organizers said they hope to go door-to-door again next month.
Miami Police Major Keith Cunningham said change will not likely come without a change in Liberty City’s culture.
“People should not be scared,” he said. “They should feel safe calling the police, not worried about someone knocking on their door or being targeted when they report something.”
Samantha Smith may be reached at email@example.com.