Riviera Beach mayor unveils plans to fight crime wave

Mayor speaks out following Monday's shooting
Posted at 6:25 PM, Dec 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-27 19:35:11-05

The mayor of Riviera Beach is speaking out about the violence plaguing the city.

"Gun violence is exploding all around us. My heart is broken, my spirit is grieved," said Mayor Thomas Masters. "I'm really tired of the senseless acts of violence and preaching funerals of 16-year olds and 17-year olds. It has to stop and it's going to start with me."

He unveiled his bold plans to combat crime in a press conference with local media on Tuesday morning. 

"Law enforcement will use every resource and more to keep the peace," he said.

The response comes after another shooting near West 33rd Street later Monday afternoon injured a man in his 50s.

Police said the shooting was domestic-related, and the man's injuries could be life threatening. The shooter left the scene.

He spoke out about the violence, saying the community needs to create an environment of peace and look out for young people.

Masters said one of his requests is that police start cracking down on curfew enforcement for youth. Curfew is at 11 p.m. on weekdays and 12 a.m. on weekends for residents 18 and under.

"Who knows, we may have to up the curfew earlier or do whatever is necessary that is within the confines of the law," he said.

Masters also spoke about implementing security checkpoints in and out of the city.

"Drivers of vehicles that scheme to come into our city from neighboring communities to shoot and kill our youth, be warned. We will take every necessary, every necessary and legal means to keep you out. Point blank. Our entry and exit points will be secured. Smile, you might be on candid camera. A good thing to know. You never know when you might be stopped or searched," said Masters.

He brought up the possibility of police stopping and searching any suspicious vehicles or persons.

"A good thought to keep in mind to our young people and others: You never know when you're going to be stopped or searched, legally. Don't do any wrong and you won't have to worry about it," he said.

The mayor also had some advice for parents in the community, asking them to know where their kids are at all times.

"I want you to do something else," he said to parents, "I want you to inspect your house for anything that does not belong in your house. You know what I'm talking about. You might be surprised what you may find under the beds."

He advised that if parents notice a negative change in their child, to seek professional help for them.

"We all could use some help as we seek to guide children through this tough and challenging time with drugs and guns seemingly all around us," he said.

Masters said that he is working with youth in the city to establish new programs to help keep juveniles on the right path.

One of his ideas involves youth empowerment meetings every Monday at 4 p.m. at the Lindsey Davis Community Center. He also wants to establish midnight basketball games every Friday night for 18 to 25-year olds.

"That's a critcal age group. If you're not out there, you're not a victim," he said.

Masters also said the city is launching a 'see something, say something' hotline to combat crime. The number is 561-840-0111.

Masters added that he and other city officials recently attended a business trip to Philadelphia, where they met with local police departments. He said that trip drew inspiration for the ideas presented on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the entire press conference: