The City of Miami Beach on Monday announced a state of emergency and crowd-control measures following an influx of visitors for spring break and the wave of violence that has followed suit including shootings, theft, and assault.
An ever-popular spring break destination, Miami Beach welcomes tens of thousands of students and young adults each March, stimulating the local economy and sustaining restaurants and bars with record profits on an annual basis, but city commissioners and local officials are beginning to explore measures to reduce capacities and enact control over residential areas. While arrests are down during the spring break span of time this year compared to years past, a spree of shootings pushed Mayor Dan Gelber to take action.
“If you want to see what a very frustrated and angry mayor looks like, you’re looking at him,” said Gelber. “Our city is well past its endpoint. What we’re watching and what we’re feeling is simply unacceptable at every level. We’re going to sign an executive order to implement a midnight curfew going through the weekend. We just can’t have this anymore. Thank you to all the men and women of our police force. On Saturday there were bullets flying on Ocean Drive. You see the visitors running away from them, but you also see our officers running towards them to help.”
Former Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine lauded the move on Twitter, also stating that the city should begin discussing similar action for Memorial Day weekend.
Gelber also stated that the city has seized over 100 guns in the past 4 weeks alone, emphasizing the level of violence being brought into Miami Beach.
“While we want nothing more than for our residents and visitors to enjoy our beautiful and vibrant city, my first priority is to provide for public safety,” said Miami Beach City Manager Kristen Rosen Gonzalez. “Our police department, in coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation will implement traffic restrictions as necessary. All of our neighborhoods will be protected with the necessary measures and the necessary security.”
Large swaths of tourists have been a mainstay complaint of residents of Florida’s 2 most popular destination cities, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. While precautionary measures have been in place, they were proven to be ineffective. City Commissioners made clear that they “do not want spring break here,” and are committed to implementing whatever steps deemed essential to protect property and people.
This is a developing story.