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Miami Beach Officials Say Urban Beach Week Plan Worked

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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – They’re not celebrating just yet, but Miami Beach city leaders gave themselves a pat on the back for a job well done at Urban Beach Weekend so far.

Arrests are down this Memorial Day weekend on South Beach, and so are the crowds.

“We know it’s not over ’til the fat lady sings clearly, but so far so good,” said Miami Beach Assistant City Manager Hilda Fernandez. “We’re really happy to see there are crowds here that are enjoying themselves. They’re doing so without making a mess of the city, without creating any issues for themselves and especially for us as a city.”

After months of meetings to discuss the major event plan for Urban Beach Weekend, it’s finally implemented. Fernandez said all the planning was well worth it.

“Hopefully tomorrow morning we’ll wake up and say it was another successful plan and another successful Memorial Day weekend and that our visitors were able to have a good time and go home and come back,” Fernandez said.

Still, some visitors said the stepped-up enforcement is overkill.

“I think the police presence is a little overwhelming,” said visitor John Greene. “I believe that some of the barricades that they have, it’s not as personal as it used to be.”

Cops explained it’s better to be proactive than reactive.

“What may be overkill for some, in the end is a prevention tool,” said Miami Beach Police Det. Vivian Hernandez.

As of Sunday evening, police said they removed 25 guns off the street, including a shot gun.

According to police figures, between Thursday night and Sunday morning, 228 were made. The majority were for misdemeanor offenses.

Authorities said calls for service are down significantly this year compared to 2011.

“Our goal is to prevent that one major event from happening,” Det. Hernandez said. “That’s why we’ve placed all different prevention methods this year.”

From the watch tower between 7th and 8th streets along Ocean Drive to the traffic loop between Washington St. and Collins Ave., the message for those looking to stir up trouble was clear.

“The folks that want to come take advantage of our tourists, take advantage of our residents this weekend, we don’t need them here, we don’t want them here,” Fernandez said.

The Assistant City Manager told CBS 4 News fewer police officers are on duty this year compared to last year. She said they’re just more visible this year because of the proactive enforcement.

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