Arrests in the touristy city of Miami Beach during the college break known as “Spring Break” have doubled this year amid the pandemic of coronavirus up to about 900, with 163 of them last week due to acts of street violence and riots.
Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodríguez told Efe on Monday that the week that ended this Sunday was one of the “most active” for the institution with 163 arrests, 69 of them on criminal charges, the seizure of 21 guns; and more than 1,500 “unsafe” driving offenses.
He stressed that “the message is clear” for those who want to incite violence: do not come if you are not going to behave as at home, because you will be arrested.
He assured that about 900 arrests is a very high number, which doubles the figures of last year, taking into account that there are still three of a total of eight weeks in which the “spring breakers” usually arrive en masse in the city, especially to the South Beach beach and bar area, at the southern tip of Miami Beach.
However, Rodríguez clarified that it may also be due to the presence of more officers, from other cities and from Miami-Dade County, who help reinforce the security provided by about 400 Miami Beach officers, especially on weekends.
People walk on Miami Beach during spring break.
The Police spokesman indicated that “it is difficult” to know who the violent actors are and pointed out that they are a group of people who were quarantined for almost a year in their homes and are now “mixing in this holiday season” with the students. .
“College boys I don’t think they are,” Rodríguez added.
After the disorders of the weekend, the streets, beaches and bars of Miami Beach They looked like they did before the pandemic this Monday, in the middle of a summer heat in the middle of spring.
The massive return of tourists is increasingly evident, this time young university students, some of them carrying small bottles of liquor in paper bags and many without respecting security protocols due to covid-19.
Rodríguez clarified that bringing alcoholic beverages to the beach or smoking marijuana is prohibited throughout Miami-Dade County.
The incidents that occurred throughout the week have left two officers injured in an attempt to control the crowds, while a video shows a 19-year-old boy being beaten by a police officer during what local authorities described of “stampede.”
People spend their spring break on the beach in Miami Beach. (EFE / EPA / CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH).
Local business owners, on the other hand, have been “surprised” but grateful to see such numbers of consumers entering their stores.
Rodríguez said tourists are welcome, but urged them to spend their vacations “responsibly.”
In addition to the increase in criminal activities, there is concern about crowds of people who circulate on the streets and consume in local shops, many of whom do not wear masks or keep social distancing, as shown by local media and videos on social networks.
Many people walk on Miami Beach during spring break. (EFE / EPA / CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH).
The mayor of the city, Dan Gelber, pointed out that there are too many visitors, too many misbehaving, and also in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic.
“It is a triple threat,” he lamented.
At a time when Florida records a decline in cases, local authorities, and other neighboring cities such as Orlando, have asked visitors to respect security measures to prevent a spread of the virus that could spread to other states.