South Beach‘s sizzling party scene is about to undergo a massive boost in police presence and tougher crackdowns on raucous crowds and crime, weeks after a tourist eating dinner with his family was fatally shot at a Miami Beach restaurant, authorities say.
“The many years of troubling incidents in this district can no longer be tolerated,” City Manager Alina Hudak said in a memo Friday disclosing plans to “create the highest level of regular police presence this area has ever seen.”
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber ordered police, along with fire rescue, parking, sanitation and other departments to devise a unified strategy to deal with the crowds. The police department reassigned an average of 40 officers to patrol South Beach streets, to increase “visibility” not just on nights and weekends, but throughout the day, the memo stated.
Ten officers from the county are being added every weekend to South Beach duty for the rest of the year, Gelber said in a video message Friday.
The beach-front party scene has been plagued with increasingly out-of-control partiers during holiday weekends. The city enacted a strict 8 p.m. curfew in March after unruly spring break crowds gathered in the streets by the thousands, erupting into fights, destroying restaurant property and refusing to wear masks. Over 1,000 were arrested and many were from out of town, police said.
“It is no longer sufficient to treat what has historically been defined as “high impact periods” as anomalies when every weekend brings significant crowds and challenges,” Hudak said.
Additional code officers and park rangers will be assigned to enforce ordinance violations to create a “visible and constant deterrent” to overcrowding and other problems. Hudak stressed in the memo that the parties created a “year-round threat to public safety from visitors who have demonstrated a blatant disregard for human life, public property and the well-being of our many law-abiding residents and guests.”
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