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MIAMI GARDENS(CBSMiami) — Miami Gardens Police officers joined social activists and community leaders Monday as they fanned out across an apartment building. It was part of the Walking One Stop aimed at curbing crime and giving economic and social benefits to residents in need.
The tour is an initiative of the Miami-Dade anti-gang strategy and targets areas that have been victimized by gun and gang violence.
It was also timely after a series of shootings in Miami Gardens including an incident Saturday at a supermarket at N.W. 191st St. and N.W. 32nd Ave. and a drive-by at a car nearby that same day at N.W. 184 St. and N.W. 23rd Ave.
“This is overwhelming,” said a resident of an apartment building near N.W. 177th St. and N.W. 7th Ave. where the tour stopped on Monday. “Seeing police and the community working together. This is amazing. Is it for real? I hope it’s not just politics with the situation coming up. People in the community out here are struggling. There are no rich people here. People are struggling.”
Miami Gardens Police Major Frank Trujillo told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “You never know who you are going to speak to and you may come by someone who observed a crime that occurred or someone who may be linked to something that’s missing that could solve a crime.”
That’s important because often witnesses are reluctant to talk to police.
Trujillo said, “When we come out here there is a different setting. It’s a one-on-one basis with officers here specifically to lend their time and hear what issues they have.”
Walking One Stop involves elected officials, faith leaders, social and economic service providers, criminal justice personnel and activists.
Walking One Stop also gives residents access to social and economic services, child care, head start, elderly and disabilities services and youth services and utilities bills assistance.
Wayne Rawlins is the developer and lead consultant for Walking One Stop.
“Walking One Stop provides access by residents at the local, state and federal level,” said Rawlins. “We have jobs and people providing access here to job banks and resumes. We have day care services and head start.”
Rachel Taalibdeen is Executive Director of the North-Dade Youth & Family Coalition.
She said, “We can provide links to services that people need in mental health and health care,” she said. “We are also getting kids into programs so they will not get into bad things.”
Rawlins said there have been more than 50 Walking One Stop tours since the operation started in 2010.
“We find crime goes down for about 6 weeks in the areas where we have these stops,” said Rawlins.
He also said Walking One Stop generates some crime tips.
“If you want to make an anonymous tip, you can by calling Crime Stoppers,” said Rawlins.
He said future tours are planned for Richmond Heights and Little Haiti.