The municipal parking lot behind South Beach's Epicure Market is a bustling hub of activity. The lot, which also serves Crunch Fitness, Ace Hardware, and restaurants at the west end of Lincoln Road, is always busy. Despite the activity, a number of car owners have reported vehicle-related crimes in the lot.
According to Sgt. Bobby Hernandez of the Miami Beach Police Department, three auto break-ins have been reported in that lot in the past 90 days. According to a source, break-ins were recorded in other Lincoln Road-area parking lots.
Epicure owner Jason Starkman is aware of the situation, telling Short Order: "We are shocked that with all of the police and city official presence in the area that this is happening. We are definitely looking into the situation and working to solve the problem."
Although the lot is owned by the city and not Epicure, the gourmet food has surveillance cameras trained on the parking area.
Car break-ins aren't new to Miami Beach, but a strong business community can work toward lowering crime rates. Recently, Wynwood merchants and residents created a Business Improvement District (BID) with safety being a main goal. BID project director David Collins told the Miami Herald: "It's as much to do with the perception of feeling safe. People park on side streets, and there is a history of car break-ins. That will come to a screeching halt."
Car owners can also play their part by being vigilant when parking their vehicles. Sergeant Hernandez said the City of Miami Beach is posting signage in its lots reminding the public not to leave valuables in vehicles, especially currency, electronics, banking information, and shopping bags, which are especially tempting to criminals who "smash and grab" items from cars.