MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — The island city was considerably more quiet Friday night, the first weekend after a pair of shootings that took place during a busy season for the area with spring breakers flooding south Florida. One reason for a smoother evening was due to the massive police presence in and around Ocean Drive.
Videos went viral the past few weeks of people acting out of control, in addition to the two separate shootings.
🚨#BREAKING: Reports of out control Spring Breakers jumping on occupied cars with fights breaking out— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) March 20, 2023
⁰📌#Miami | #Florida
Police are responding to Numerous reports of unmanageable crowds of Spring Breakers in Miami Beach, which have resulted in altercations and instances of… pic.twitter.com/zHaR6dbw3u
Before drivers coming in from Miami could even get to popular spots last night, the Florida Highway Patrol set up a check point, manned by dozens of troopers, checking IDs and searching cars. Once through, party goers could not escape the sight of police officers stationed for blocks.
Officers were patrolling in almost every vehicle imaginable. From squad cars to ATVs to UTVs to bicycles, name a mode of transportation, police were manning them. This allowed officers to show up to any disturbance in a short amount of time with an overwhelming force.
I saw this firsthand when there was a disturbance at the housing complex next to my hotel. Officers on bicycles were the first to respond, quickly hopping off their bicycles, leaving them in the street, and rushing into the gated condos. Within minutes, the whole street was lined with responding officers to offer support. Once it became clear the help was not needed, the extra personnel went back to patrolling the streets.
"Florida is a law-and-order state. As part of Governor DeSantis's priority to protect Floridians and keep our communities safe, FHP is ready and prepared to act. The troopers will patrol the streets and will 'stay as long as needed and protect the residents of the greater Miami area, and we will have zero tolerance for dangerous and illegal activity,'" said Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Dave Kerner.
The extra number of officers was in addition to other measures the city of Miami Beach took to curb any potential violence, but the mayor of Miami Beach says after this year, he wants to take measures to stop visitors from coming to his city for spring break. Some businesses are split, with some saying the crowds have become a hazard for their employees, while others say this time of year brings in much-needed cash.
"We’re not going to arrest our way out of it. We’re going to have to just stop spring break from happening here. That’s the best thing we can do," Dan Gelber said, admitting reaching that point will be a very hard thing to do, according to NBC News.
Bike rack-like barricades lined the sidewalks, keeping the smaller crowd on the sidewalk. While Friday was calmer compared to previous weekends this year, I did see two men get arrested. Time will only tell if spring break will survive for another year in the city of Miami Beach.