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Daily updates on what's up in Coconut Grove and beyond including Brickell, Coral Gables and Midtown Miami

Friday, August 24, 2012

About that incident on Matilda Street

I was awakened yesterday morning by a text from someone (about 6:15 am) and then others emailed, tweeted and called. They said it was about an armed robbery, right outside Coconut Grove Elementary School, but it ended up being a rape, too. This was about 5 to 5:30 am.

I was called today by some high end figures in our community, including a couple of politicians, a lobbyist and many disgruntled business owners as well as neighbors. They want action and they want it fast. They wanted me to write about the crime, but I held off until I saw it elsewhere first.


Now that the Miami Herald and other news agencies have reported the crime, I guess I should address it. I am always torn about what to write. I am told by some that when I write about unpleasant things it only tears the Grove down. I am told that since I am sort of the authority on all things Grove, that I should be only writing nice things since tourists see the Grapevine first. I suspect that is why other blogs were started recently -- to draw the attention away from the Grapevine and the real world. If you read them, you think we live in Wizard of Oz land or something. But I am writing for the locals, not the tourists. If the tourists want to check in, too, that is more than ok, but I am trying to cover the news and events for those of us who are here every day.

I am always torn. Are the tourists reading stories like this and not coming here? Of course not. They come to other areas of Miami with worse crime than the Grove has. 
Besides, I am told by many tourists that they visit because of what they read in the Grapevine, not despite it. 

Bike thefts proliferate all over the county, so do robberies, hold ups and rapes, and we are just a part of it in Coconut Grove, we are part of society and this is what's going on in society. Today there was a shooting near the Empire State Building in NY. We aren't immune from crime here. Are people going to stop going to New York now because of this shooting? I don't think so.

One of my callers today suggested more lighting on the streets, that's a start, but I think we need more than that. Maybe more of a police presence in high crime areas. Matilda Street, the street in front of the school where the rape occurred is notorious for car break ins in the middle of the night. Maybe police should enforce that one particular street. At City Hall, they are fighting over the budget, they are trying to make our City look like a budget mess while throwing the Mayor under the bus. How about you all stop that nonsense, hire more cops and do the right thing?

The rape was the final straw.

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17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terrible that sort of thing happened. I hope that the woman is okay and they catch the perpatrator.

August 24, 2012 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Trisha said...

I always appreciate the posts. It's better to be safe than naive.

August 24, 2012 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inform us of everything Grape, we are hungry information, especially as to what is happening in our neighborhood and what should be done to make it a better place

August 24, 2012 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Grove is heavily policed as is, the problem is much larger than that. The unfortunate reailty is that the Grove is located on the edge of a very dangerous and crime ridden area, and so long as that is the case tragedies like this will occur from time to time. How many other rapes have occured within walking distance of this incident's location in the past 5 years??

August 24, 2012 6:52 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Well, the City of Miami does have real budget problems. That's a fact. So until the residents decide that the city has hit bottom and it's now okay to raise taxes, you aren't getting any more police protection.


.

August 24, 2012 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

STOP TRYING TO BLAME THE POOR RESIDENTS OF THE WEST GROVE! THE PERP WAS NOT A RESIDENT AND OF LATIN DESCENT !LIKE 78% OF THE TIME! MIAMI IS MAJORITY LATINO BUT WHITE RESIDENTS SEEM TO WANT TO BLAME ALL THE CRIME ON THE 0.02 PERCENTILE RACE .PROVE ME WRONG THE NUMBERS ARE IMPOSSIBLE!!

August 25, 2012 12:19 AM  
Blogger Sledge said...

Jezzuzz, there's crime every where. let's get some perspective here: wasn't Coconut Grove classified as the safest neighborhood in South Florida lately? Yes, it was, statistically.
CI

August 25, 2012 1:51 AM  
Blogger lidj tafari said...

The neighboring area is not where that particular problem stems. It stems from a lack of police presence on residential streets. That area has been dark and unprotected for years. The police can be found at the quick stop around the corner whenever something happenes. If they are not parked in the quick stop parking lot they are parked at the improve. I have lived all over Miami and the grove I can say that in the west grove (I can only assume the crime ridden neighborhood you speek ) people are friendlier and say hello more then any where in Miami.

August 25, 2012 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate the fact that we have to read news like this but it is reality. I am sickened that anyone can blame this on a particular area or turn this into a race issue. The fact is that as residents we must come together to stop these crimes. It's hard to think that we have over a million saved for a park here in the grove yet we can't afford police officers. Go out and vote, go to crime watch meetings, be a voice against all this in our neighborhood.

August 25, 2012 9:43 PM  
Anonymous swlip said...

Rick's solution for everything: Raise taxes.

Yeah, that'll work. We're already the most heavily-taxed municipality in the state of Florida, and look at the kind of b.s. we get for our money: http://www.autoblog.com/2012/04/25/hundreds-of-5-year-old-municipal-vehicles-found-in-miami-that-we/

Grape: I think that most of us appreciate your reporting on crime in the Grove. It's better to be informed on what's happening than blissfully ignorant.

Arm yourselves, or at least buy a can of mace, and always be aware of your surroundings.

Because when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

August 26, 2012 12:13 PM  
Anonymous swlip said...

And I think it's perfectly appropriate to be concerned about the proximity of a high-crime area, regardless of whether it can be tied to any one incident. Anyone who claims otherwise should go for a late-night stroll around the blocks surrounding Grand and Douglas, unarmed, just to prove their point. Otherwise, knock it off with the politically correct twaddle.

August 26, 2012 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you walk there one day or night and you may find some real people and real friends

August 26, 2012 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretending that the West Grove has no effect on the crime rate in the center grove is just silly. This sort of overly PC head in the sand thinking will ensure that these problems are never solved.

As for those recommended a stroll through the west grove, look up Ronald Gentile for a taste of the real friends one can meet!

August 26, 2012 2:13 PM  
Blogger J said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 27, 2012 11:45 AM  
Anonymous 4813 said...

Mr. Arroliga is of course presumed innocent until proven guilty. BUT it's worth noting that a search of the clerk website shows he is no angel and was previously CONVICTED of: Loitering and carrying a concealed weapon (2005), petit theft (2005, reduced from burglary of a car and dealing in stolen property), a second petit theft (2005), disorderly conduct (2006), resisting an officer without violence and battery on a leo/fire/emt (2008), and possession with intent to sell marijuana (2010). This is in addition to the other charges that were dropped, no actioned, or had adjudication withheld - loitering in 2005, strong armed robbery in 2006, possession with intent to sell in 2007, battery in 2009, possession in 2011, battery in 2012 - and doesn't include the charges that were currently pending against him at the time of the rape: battery on a leo, resisting with violence, escape, and disorderly conduct.

There's an obvious point here that criminals commit crime, not neighborhoods. This could have happened anywhere and the statistics indicate that it DOES happen anywhere else in Miami - and much more often than in the Grove. But that said, we also need to make it known that the Grove is not about to lie down and accept this happening in our backyard. The outrage people feel about this happening here is part of the reason things like this DON'T happen here, because we don't concede our little corner of the world to criminals and haven't become numb to this sort of thing.

So email and call your local representatives and demand to know what they are doing to prevent this sort of thing from happening again, and show up to the next All-Grove Crime Watch meeting. Our elected officials need to know that they cannot sit on their hands when it comes to the Grove - sadly, when it comes to government, the ones that yell the loudest usually get the most. We contribute a significant and disproportionate amount of tax revenue to the city and deserve a neighborhood that is safe - and we won't accept anything less.

August 27, 2012 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad for the victim and upset about blame automatically laid on neighboring areas, the problem is very deep and a solution has to be very profound and completely void of ignorance.

August 27, 2012 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen champ - the west grove gave us last year's rapes, every petty crime, break in, armed robbery and garbage diving.

They need to be gentrified, redeveloped and removed.

Get over it.

August 31, 2012 9:25 PM  

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