A new security company took over at least 16 municipal sites, deploying dozens of guards to posts such as the boardwalk, Lincoln Road and parking garages.
Internal Intelligence Service was awarded the city contract in March and has since been training 70 new guards and setting up offices in Old City Hall, 1130 Washington Ave.
Under the police department's direction, the company has added extra guards to key areas such as the boardwalk.
"The boardwalk is obviously a concern and we wanted to address the concerns of residents," said Gerald Gregory, president and CEO of the company. "We increased the coverage there to enable us to do a better job."
In December, a citizens group called Save Our Boardwalk/The Committee of 100 formed to lobby the city for better security and maintenance of the wooden pathway, which stretches from 21st to 47th streets. One of the group's chief complaints was that the company that previously held the contract, Armor Security, was ineffective.
Internal Intelligence Service has instituted other changes as well. Guards will now patrol certain areas, including the boardwalk, on bicycles. "The guards can't do the job on the boardwalk if they're walking," Goodman said. "Being on a bicycle is more visible."
A city ordinance prohibits bicycles on the boardwalk except when used by police. City staff have drafted an amendment to that ordinance that would expressly allow the security guards to patrol on bicycles. It is scheduled to go before the City Commission on May 18.