Miami’s Muslims Suit Up to Fight Crime

By Jonathan Adams May 28, 2008

Seeking a balance between outreach and enforcement, Miami is launching a nearly $1 million crime-fighting initiative in Overtown that will mix police patrols, video cameras — and suit-and-tie wearing Muslims. The stepped-up policing seeks to deter would-be lawbreakers without making Overtown residents feel ”invaded,” in the words of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones. Which is where the Muslims come in. Along with budgeting hundreds of thousands of dollars for increased police patrols and the installation of surveillance cameras, Miami is spending $150,000 on a ”Peacemakers” pilot program run by a nonprofit with ties to the Nation of Islam. Under the proposed contract, which should be finalized in the coming weeks, the Peacemakers would function as a liaison between police and the community. A mixture of suit-wearing Muslims and T-shirt-wearing outreach workers — of various denominations — will walk the streets of Overtown, reporting crimes, referring the drug-addicted and homeless to support agencies and listening to concerns.

Miami Herald