The First 48 Keeps Miami's Inner City Neighborhoods in the Dumps

Categories: Luke's Gospel
Alex Izaguirre
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke goes after one of the most watched shows on cable television.

I've never been a big fan of the First 48, the reality-TV show that follows homicide investigators working cases that is now in its 12th season. The Miami Police Department is one of nine law enforcement agencies that allows Hollywood-based ITV Studios to film detectives working furiously to solve a murder within the first two days of finding a body. My problem is that the majority of the Miami homicides depicted on the First 48 inevitably originate in Overtown, Liberty City, Little Haiti, and other inner-city neighborhoods.

The show is essentially propaganda. The First 48 brainwashes a national cable television audience into believing these places are war zones they should avoid if they ever visit the Magic City. The episodes are like public service announcements telling the world: "Don't come here. Stay in Brickell, Coconut Grove, or downtown Miami."

Just imagine a family in Omaha, Nebraska, about to make a decision of where to stay in the Magic City, watching Miami homicide Det. Kevin Ruggiero arrive at the scene of an 18-year-old African-American shot in the head while riding a jitney bus. It's not just potential tourists being warned. No major corporation or entrepreneur would dare open a new business in Overtown or Liberty City after seeing all the violence plastered on the First 48.

The First 48 is part of the media propaganda machine to keep certain places down. Just look at Miami Gardens. The city is home to Sun Life Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins and dozens of cultural events, year round, including one of best contemporary music festivals in the country, Jazz in the Gardens. It is a great place for a Fortune 500 company to build something and create jobs. But you wouldn't know that from watching the local news programs.

Right now, TV stations advertise Miami Gardens as the murder capital of the world. The politicians who have used the city to further their careers need to wake up. They are not doing enough to use Jazz in the Gardens as a promotional vehicle. Instead, they're just standing around in a tent admiring themselves. They need to have a plan in place like Aventura, a city where the politicians decided the best way to attract new money was to expand its major retail mall and bring in major luxury brand names.

That's the type of leadership cities like Miami Gardens, Opa-locka, Miami, Homestead, and Florida City lack. You need people to bring in major corporations that will create jobs.

Everybody wants to start his own city, but none of these elected officials knows how to run them.

The local media outlets and the First 48 producers don't do anything to address the ills that make these places so bleak. It provides no context to why so many people are killing one another in Overtown, Liberty City, and Little Haiti. I'd like to see them do a reality show about the lobbyists and their puppet politicians who sell out the community to accused criminals like Dennis Stackhouse, the Boston developer who falsely promised to build a $250 million bio pharmaceutical park in Liberty City just so he could double-bill Miami-Dade County for $500,000.

The City of Miami allows the First 48 producers to profit from the blood of a predominantly poor, African-American constituency. City leaders should be telling First 48's show runners to turn off the cameras. In fact, poitical leaders need to wake up, from Miami Gardens to Florida City, to the fact that we are all part of a tourist destination.

Every city has to concentrate on doing things that attract visitors and major corporations, not make them run for the hills.

Follow Uncle Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

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Seriously, who would visit Miami and choose to stay in Overtown, Liberty City or Little Haiti? Would you honestly advise anyone coming here on vacation to stay in any of those areas? Not if you want hem to return. When people visit, I want them to see the best of the city so they return and continue bringing their dollars with them, 


REALLY LUKE? As IF there are an abundance of hotels in Miami Gardens for tourists to visit in the first place? You should be a card dealer at the Seminole Casino, that way you'd get paid more to keep playing that race card like you do...


You are really blaming First 48? Seriously?  The show First 48 does not compel African American women to have a rapid succession of babies, generally fathered by whomever walks by their door, or happens to be out of jail on bond.  The show does not abandon these same children to the "village" , including grandparents when times get tough.  Oh, and last time I checked, the show wasn't forcing African Americans to buy and use crack or stay high on weed all day.  The white politician does not need to do anything to destroy the black community, the black community is doing a terrific job of destroying itself from within.

   If I were you, I would be proud of those officers who work these neighborhoods, and work to bring justice to the marginalized citizens of these neighborhoods, even though they receive scant assistance.   What strikes me the most watching the Miami episodes is not that these are poor urban areas, but that they are poor urban areas where there exists very little humanity at all. Bringing industry to this area would be of little benefit to a populace high on crack and weed, and busy killing their neighbors.

Exiliado topcommenter

Mr. Campbell, why don't you use numbers to support your agument?

It's easy to defeat the propaganda machine if you expose the facts. Just make a simple side by side comparison of crime statistics, and let that Omaha family decide by looking at the numbers. It's a no brainer, right?


You're right, it doesn't take a TV show to prove that crime, of all kind, happens all across Miami. however, it does take Media to support the fact that Miami is a safe place to live (including Overtown, Liberty City, Little Haiti). What I find interesting is most know that this show perpetuates and Hollywood-depicts behaviors that we don't care to see repeat; yet views watch it while others make the attempt to repeat this unacceptable behavior. BCAtalk


Nowadays, well informed members of society don't need a TV show to tell them that a particular area is crime ridden and should be avoided.  Those areas you listed ARE war zones.


lol stopped reading at "The First 48 is part of the media propaganda machine to keep certain places down". yes that's exactly why. it's all the media's doing. the poor victim.

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