MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – So far, so good at this year’s Urban Beach Week on Miami Beach.
“So far it has been a successful weekend,” said Miami Beach police spokesman Bobby Hernandez. “Our arrests have been about the same but our calls for service are substantially down. That’s really the true indicator. Arrests are subjective. Not everybody goes to jail but we can’t be subjective with calls to 9-1-1 and we’ve noticed that we’ve had about 100 less calls for police assistance than we had last year.”
Hernandez said approximately 400 officers from various agencies are working the event and their message of safety seems to have gotten across.
“The streets seem a lot calmer and everybody seems to have gotten the message that we are there for their safety and we just want them to obey our laws and rules,” said Hernandez.
Police have made 131 arrests as of Saturday evening, which is actually about 30 less than last year at the same time.
“The offenses are primarily the same. You intoxications, alcohol offenses, minor drug possession and that’s what we have here on a regular weekend. Since there are more people here the numbers are going to be a little higher,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez said the number of arrests are similar to other big events on Miami Beach, like Spring Break but there is a big difference.
“The difference is Spring Break is almost 12 weeks for us, Ultra lasts two weeks. Though it is a Miami event we do get the residual overflow that comes onto Miami Beach,” said Hernandez. “The difference between those two events is that we’re talking a weekend. So obviously it’s a lot busier and that’s why we have to have this many officers out there.”
With a mix of alcohol and drug use during one of the busiest weekends on South Florida’s shores, the scene had a reputation of getting rough. This year, it seems different.
“It’s been pretty calm, I don’t wan to jinx it,” said Hernandez. “So far it seems even calmer than last year and we haven’t had any major incidents. It’s been a very, very well run event.”
“Especially at night time it gets a little rough, it’s good to see the security and all the lights and everything,” said John Dukes from Homestead.
To assist the officers on the ground, 21 cameras were placed around the city and are being monitored at a command post at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
“One year we had one thousand arrests in one weekend so this year we’re in tune with making same amount of arrests as last year, a little bit less,” said Hernandez.
Miami Beach wants to minimize the impact for residents so certain streets will be open for local residents only.
Those road closures started Friday and will remain closed until Tuesday.
For crowd management purposes, a traffic loop is managing public traffic along 5th Street, Washington and Collins Avenues.