Absolute War in Our Streets

HELP FIGHT CRIME: BUY GUNS, urge bumper stickers on cars along Miami's Flagler Street. To attract new depositors, the city's Lincoln Savings and Loan Association offers not toasters or blenders, but pocket cans of spray repellent. Newly acquired Doberman guard dogs growl inside increasing numbers of Bade County homes; sales of sophisticated burglar alarm systems and rudimentary iron bars for doors are booming. Says a Miami policeman: "Sometimes I think I'm in Dodge City."

Such are the signs of a crime wave that is surging through southern Florida. Crime rates are continuing to climb nationwide: in 1979, according to FBI statistics, the overall rate of serious crime (murder, robbery, forcible rape and theft) jumped 9% over 1978, and for the first six months of 1980 it rose by 10% over the same period last year. But southern Florida has a special problem. In Miami overall crime jumped 21% during the first half of 1980 over 1979 figures; the murder rate alone soared 70%, from 134 in all of 1979 to 201 so far this year. Says Miami Beach Commissioner Alex Daoud: "An absolute war is being fought in our streets at night."

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