Community makeover designed to prevent crime

Liberty City residents await improvements, crime reduction in Liberty Square apartment complex


MIAMI – Big changes are in the pipeline for a Miami community plagued with violence.

Liberty Square, a 753-unit housing project in Liberty City, will soon undergo a major makeover complete with cameras, guard houses and decorative planters.

"I think it's about time," said Selina Preston, a resident at Liberty Square.

Preston was among 50 people who showed up to a community meeting on Thursday to address the area's safety and quality of life issues. It was a small turnout considering notices went out to each of the 753 units.

One resident who lives across the street from where the meeting took place told Local 10's Terrell Forney that he prefers to keep to himself.

"I pray. I wanna go over but I avoid trouble," said resident Buford Redding, Jr.

One woman inside of the meeting rallied people to get their neighbors involved.

"Let your neighbors know, you can't have it both ways. Either you want to help or you don't want to help," she said.

At a city commission meeting earlier in the day, commissioners were briefed on the progress in Liberty Square.

More than 100 broken street lights have been fixed, which previously left neighborhoods darkened and prone to crime.

Decorative planters will align several side streets around Liberty Square and four guard houses will go up. Security will be able to record license plates and keep a better tab of who goes in and out of Liberty Square.

"That way we'll have limited access to cars in Liberty Square. Between the lighting, it'll be a safer neighborhood," said Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa.

Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, whose district includes Liberty City, also wants stepped up police patrols.

"If it's about safety, let's just get it done," said Spence-Jones.

However, the city says it's 200 officers short of its ideal staffing number.

"We are completely and utterly understaffed," said Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.

"We need a future in this community. We need a change in this community. It needs to start somewhere," said Preston.

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