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Home Safe Home: Local 10 News rides along with Marine Patrol

Miami Beach unit specializes in crimes on the water

The Miami Beach Marine Patrol works to keep South Florida's waterfront neighborhoods safe.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The Miami Beach Marine Patrol is in charge of responding to crimes on the water, helping boaters in distress and keeping people safe who live in waterfront homes.

"We encounter some bad guys at times," said officer Vincent Canete.

Unlike many communities on dry land -- where burglars like to strike during the day when folks are at work -- police said crooks like to hit waterfront homes at night. One reason: some are not well-lit on the water-side.

"This place at night -- this is a very dark place," said officer Larry Marrero.

If crooks aren't after belongings inside homes, police said they'll go after the toys outside.

"They're out here scouting for new jet skis, and they're actually out here looking for the easy pickings," Canete said.

Canete and Marrero encourage homeowners to lock up their personal watercraft, paddleboards and kayaks.

They also want boat owners to tilt boat engines up, because the lower units on motors can easily be stolen in the down position.

"The lower units on the boats are worth about $4,000, the propellers another $700. They also do not have any serial numbers; the bad guy doesn't have to worry about being traced to that boat, that engine," Marrero said.

Miami Beach police are also encouraging homeowners to put their addresses on the backs of their houses -- even along seawalls.

It helps neighbors report any crimes they see from the water side, and it helps police find a home more easily.

"Sometimes we're the first ones that know about the crime. We want to tell the officer on the street, 'This is where we're at,'" Marrero said.

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