MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – Miami Beach Police and Miami-Dade County leadership shared their concerns regarding recent crimes in the city during a community relations meeting, and they hope the crimes do not worsen as spring breakers begin arriving in South Florida.
As universities across the U.S. have spread out their spring break due to the coronavirus pandemic, the spring break season in the coastal city will be extended, as well. However, police said they are prepared for what is to come.
“This year is going to be a little bit more challenging than years past,” Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements said. “We’re anticipating large crowds this year.”
The city has experienced a rise in violent crime in the past few weeks. A shooting sent three people to the hospital, a woman was stabbed in the entertainment district, and two teenagers were arrested following a pursuit through Ocean Drive.
With the start of spring break, the police said they are focused on security.
“Spring break started Feb. 15 and is expected to last through the second or third week of April, maybe even beyond that,” Miami Beach Police Deputy Chief Wayne Jones said.
On Wednesday, Clements attended a meeting held by the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board. Several law enforcement agencies in attendance discussed ways to improve relationships between law enforcement and the community.
Jones explained the department’s ongoing efforts for the next few weeks of spring break during the meeting.
“We police behavior — not race, not ethnicity, but behavior,” Jones said. “Folks are not going to be allowed to carry coolers with alcohol onto the beach itself. We’re going to be dealing with and enforcing, hopefully, talking to folks for open air consumption, marijuana and other narcotics.”
Beachgoers can expect to see a ramped up police presence over the next few weeks.
“Nobody gets weekends off,” Jones said. “The entire police department works every Saturday for the eight weeks of spring break.”
While the number of COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward across the U.S., police said they will be out doing what they can to prevent any sort of super spreader events.
“We’re trying to intervene and mitigate that as best we can,” Clements said. “I think, as of today, we have passed out over 21,000 masks out there.”
A midnight curfew remains in effect for businesses in Miami Beach and throughout the county.
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