MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Miami Beach Police say their calls for service are drastically down so far for the first few days of Urban Beach Weekend festivities.
Police have received 1500 calls as of Sunday afternoon. That’s well below the nearly 3000 calls they received over the entire Memorial Day weekend period last year.
Businesses say they’ve noticed smaller crowds along Ocean Drive.
“This is a little more calm this year,” said Kristina Jones Barahona, the manager at Bellini Italian Bistro on 5th and Ocean. “A lot fewer people.”
Next door at Maya Tapas and Grill, the owner says it’s been slower than most typical South Beach weekends.
“It’s much, much slower,” said Sara Maya. “Because people from Miami leave. They go out of town. They go to Key West or somewhere else, because they don’t want to stay in town in Miami during this weekend because it’s known for being not secure and not safe.”
Businesses are crunching the numbers and noticing a difference.
“A little less revenue but not much,” said Tommy Wilcox. He manages a beach rental business on South Beach. On Sunday afternoon, there were plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas still available.
“It’s been pretty quiet this year compared to last year,” Wilcox said. “Last year it was a little bit crazy, but I’m quite happy with the way its going this year.”
Those who came looking for a wild weekend, feel let down.
“I think the police presence is a little overwhelming,” John Greene said. “I believe that some of the barricades that they have, it’s not as personal as it used to be.”
Between Thursday Night and Sunday Morning, 228 arrests were made. 33 arrests were for felony offenses.
Authorities tell CBS 4 News they’ve taken more than 20 guns off the streets.
Some guests like the extra crowd control.
“Their presence is letting a lot of people know you’re not going to get away with things and the crime rate has actually gone down from it,” said Julian Martinez.
Businesses say safety over sales is fine with them.
“It’s been bad, but at least its been safer,” Maya said. “So I think that’ a good thing.”
Miami Beach police say they’ve made fewer arrests this year than in the same time last year.