Miami Murder Rate Plunges to Historic Lows, But Why?

The city once labeled “Paradise Lost” as drug-driven murder spiked to 300 a year in the 1980s had just 26 homicides in the first six months this year. Police and community leaders cite several reasons, including a citizenry fed-up with gun violence that has grown more willing to engage with law enforcers.

Is Miami, once labeled “Paradise Lost” by Time magazine because of a searing homicide rate fueled by a crippling drug trade, now one of the safest major cities in the U.S. when it comes to gunfire deaths? The Miami Herald reports that of the 26 homicides in the city through June 30, only 16 were due to gunfire. Both numbers represent historic lows for a city that often racked up close to 300 homicides during the 1980s and which has seen those numbers drop by about 75 percent over the past three years.

Police and some community leaders attribute the drop to a combination of factors: sharing of intelligence between policing agencies, more parental involvement, a persistent cry from the community to end gun violence, even new medical life-saving techniques used by surgeons who have learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We had to build bridges to open lines of trust and communication,” said Miami-Dade Homicide Maj. Calvin James. “Somewhere in the past these relationships were lost. So we made changes. And we’re starting to see the fruits of those changes.”