All-Night Clubs Get More Cops

On Northeast 11th Street in Park West - where an island of soulless mega clubs stand amid a stretch of slum - party kids will start seeing more cops.

In a move that went almost completely unreported last spring, the Southeast Overtown Park West CRA approved $343,000 in grant money to pay for increased police presence on and around the debaucherous strip.

Now that the city has okayed it, the first signs of more men in blue are popping up. The enforcement went into effect a few weeks ago and will the focus more on street crime than what’s going on inside the 24-hour venues. (Bum fights vs. bouncer brawls and crack rocks vs. little blue pills.)

“The clubs asked for more presence because of theft and to protect the patrons,” says James Villacorta, executive director of the CRA. Police will do a loop over to Northeast 14th Street to check on Karu and Y and The Vagabond, then swing by the Miami Performing Arts Center and back.

No doubt the neighborhood needs some help on the crime front. But we can’t help wondering if Park West clubs need protection from their own drunken clients and aggressive bouncers.

Club Space, for example, racked up over 430 police reports in the span of one year. That’s around 1.2 calls a day – quite a collection for a place that’s usually open just once a week. We also found that at least seven lawsuits related to violence have been filed against the venue since its opening in 2000.

Sure, the clubs bring business to a poor part of town. But as the city continues to cut breaks to venues like Space, you gotta wonder if the all-night party is bringing more good than bad to the city. Fighting crime is expensive.

-- Natalie O'Neill

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