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Crime Has Dropped in South Florida Since the ’80s, Despite the News Reports

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2017 | Criminal Defense Lawyer |

Recently, the news reported that the U.S. Coast Guard seized 150 pounds of cocaine off of a fishing boat. The boat came into the RMK Merrill-Stevens Shipyard in Miami from Nassau, Bahamas, and the drugs were found during a routine inspection. Authorities in connection with the drug smuggling detained five people.

Back in the days of Miami Vice, this type of drug bust was pretty normal here in Miami. However, in the 30 years since the show put South Florida drug smuggling and murder on the map, we’ve actually seen crime rates decrease across the county. That’s good news for those of us who call Miami home.

Cocaine Cowboy Era in Miami

The Colombian-based Medellin Cartel led by the Ochoa crime family and famed accomplice, Pablo Escobar, was a high-power staple in Miami during the 1980s. It was about 30 years ago in the mid-80s when federal agents unsealed indictments on the infamous cartel, and the drug scene in Miami was exposed.

By 1986, crime had reached astronomical levels with 12,000 incidents per 100,000 people, and by 1989 that skyrocketed to 13,500, even after the indictments were handed down. But by 2015, that level had dropped to 4,118 crimes per 100,000 residents, which is roughly one third of what the crime levels were during the peak of the cocaine-era.

Crime Drops in Miami

As a whole, crime has dropped across America since the 1980s, and in the Miami area it has dropped to levels unseen since the 1960s prior to the Cocaine Cowboys and Mariel boatlift. In fact, every major crime except for rape has decreased in this area. Some politicians and police departments act as though we are still living in the drug and crime riddled days of the 80s by asking for more expensive upgrades to weapons and equipment, despite the fact that the numbers show that we are much safer now than we were back then.

For example, in South Miami, crime rates are the lowest since 1991, and even show a dramatic decrease between 2013-2016 where they dropped from 995 to 537 crimes per year.

Community-Focused Efforts Help Reduce Crime

Community-focused efforts such as allowing police officers to get to know residents, and working towards community watch programs where residents look out for each other could be ways to continue to reduce crime further.

If you have been accused of a crime, it’s vitally important that you contact a credible criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can help you understand and navigate the criminal justice system with regards to your crime.


Alex ButlerSpecial to the Miami Herald. (n.d.). South Miami crime rate may drop to lowest in decades. Retrieved July 13, 2017, from

Iannelli, J. (2017, June 29). Crime in Miami-Dade Drops to One-Third of Cocaine-Era Peak, New Data Show. Retrieved July 13, 2017, from

[email protected], E. (n.d.). 150 pounds of cocaine seized from fishing boat along Miami River. Retrieved July 13, 2017, from

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